Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. A generous donor is matching all donations of $100 or more! So please donate now to double your punch!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Latin America’s Next Decider

Romney, Obama, as we Unitedstatesians say in our vernacular: same difference. Some of us care and some do not. Some think the vote counts for squat while many others can’t help but lament how the fate of the world and its Christ-charged duty hinges on this 2012 presidential election. To be sure, there’s a lot of truth to be unearthed and nitpicked as we consider a less-than-adequate number of repercussions and political paradigms involved. Nevertheless, one truth is deftly glossed over regarding our hemispheric cousins: Latin America also awaits its new Gringo president, its new Decider-in-Chief.

I was sitting in my friend’s house just some days ago in the ‘Heroic City of Tacna’ on the Peruvian border with Arica, Chile. We were eating some of Tacna’s reputable pollo al broaster when my friend’s dad asked me, “So, who’s my next President going to be?” It was a joke to be sure, but a sobering joke all the same. “I’ll have to go down to the Gringo consulate, to secure my vote for Obama, to make sure I get to vote for my new President,” he added sardonically. I can only imagine what some of my compatriots would think of this Peruvian man’s joke: “Who the shit does he think he is, making fun of our democracy anyway?” That’s precisely the point. It’s not just our democracy. Politically ethical choices would be easier if it were.

Certainly the millions of Latin Americans living inside the US already have experience with Obama as their titular president, whilst experiencing the hot and cold paradoxes of his presidency—be it on the border, the Northeast, deep in America’s South, wherever. I wonder about the farcical exclusion of other Spanish, Portuguese and indigenous-speaking populations from around the hemisphere this election season. Mexico, for one, is close enough in proximity to Yanquilándia to share a border. And yet many pretend that the tens of thousands of Mexicans who died in the last handful of years—thanks to America’s psychotic obsession with guns and its super industrialized affair with illegal narcotics—is outside the scope of our vote; not to mention the hundreds of thousands of people whom Obama has managed to oppress and deport from the US-Mexican border in the last few years. They too understand an interesting side of an American presidency.

My family has lived on what is now the US-Mexico border for something like 185 years, having migrated from Chihuahua, Mexico. I have family in the Border States of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California to this very day. A professor at my undergraduate graduation ceremony in Philadelphia even stopped me and commented that he studied the trek which my family made to Mexico from Spain with Hernán Cortez in the early 1500s. Damn! That makes me feel so important. Not. And one would think my background is shared by many proud Americans who understand the clash of cultures, the enriching of peoples, land invasions and expulsions, indigenous roots, the amalgamation of different languages, a shared sense of history and direction, etc. Obviously this is not the case (we don’t share anything, let alone historical trajectories). With nearly half the US population expected to be Latino within little more than a generation’s time, can Unitedstatesians—can we—in good conscience elect but one more president who runs the gamut of oppression and paternalism both at home and abroad for the sake of political points? Are we completely foolish?

I like to fantasize about how oddly coincidental and prophetic it was that my friend’s dad let me in on his transnational political joke—as if, given my background, I was the one destined to receive a subtle truth via the insight that followed our lighthearted palavering. But living in such a globalized world, I doubt that this politico-cultural exchange on the margins of yet another highly polemic international border in the Americas was really all that strange or special. I do believe, however, that if we’re going to vote for a president this November, we ought to keep in mind that there are other Americans who will not be voting for their President—marooned immigrants within our own borders as well as future immigrants and émigrés who await their very conception somewhere in the regions of Central America, the Caribbean or the Southern Cone. These other Americans will have their national Presidents chosen by our transnational corporation support, our government-backed sedition, our military-backed coups, our economic plans which do not favor the poorest of their poor… these Americans currently await their new Decider too.

Mateo Pimental lives in the southern Andes region of Peru.

More articles by:

Mateo Pimentel lives on the Mexican-US border. You can follow him on Twitter @mateo_pimentel.

Weekend Edition
October 19, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jason Hirthler
The Pieties of the Liberal Class
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Day in My Life at CounterPunch
Paul Street
“Male Energy,” Authoritarian Whiteness and Creeping Fascism in the Age of Trump
Nick Pemberton
Reflections on Chomsky’s Voting Strategy: Why The Democratic Party Can’t Be Saved
John Davis
The Last History of the United States
Yigal Bronner
The Road to Khan al-Akhmar
Robert Hunziker
The Negan Syndrome
Andrew Levine
Democrats Ahead: Progressives Beware
Rannie Amiri
There is No “Proxy War” in Yemen
David Rosen
America’s Lost Souls: the 21st Century Lumpen-Proletariat?
Joseph Natoli
The Age of Misrepresentations
Ron Jacobs
History Is Not Kind
John Laforge
White House Radiation: Weakened Regulations Would Save Industry Billions
Ramzy Baroud
The UN ‘Sheriff’: Nikki Haley Elevated Israel, Damaged US Standing
Robert Fantina
Trump, Human Rights and the Middle East
Anthony Pahnke – Jim Goodman
NAFTA 2.0 Will Help Corporations More Than Farmers
Jill Richardson
Identity Crisis: Elizabeth Warren’s Claims Cherokee Heritage
Sam Husseini
The Most Strategic Midterm Race: Elder Challenges Hoyer
Maria Foscarinis – John Tharp
The Criminalization of Homelessness
Robert Fisk
The Story of the Armenian Legion: a Dark Tale of Anger and Revenge
Jacques R. Pauwels
Dinner With Marx in the House of the Swan
Dave Lindorff
US ‘Outrage’ over Slaying of US Residents Depends on the Nation Responsible
Ricardo Vaz
How Many Yemenis is a DC Pundit Worth?
Elliot Sperber
Build More Gardens, Phase out Cars
Chris Gilbert
In the Wake of Nepal’s Incomplete Revolution: Dispatch by a Far-Flung Bolivarian 
Muhammad Othman
Let Us Bray
Gerry Brown
Are Chinese Municipal $6 Trillion (40 Trillion Yuan) Hidden Debts Posing Titanic Risks?
Rev. William Alberts
Judge Kavanaugh’s Defenders Doth Protest Too Much
Ralph Nader
Unmasking Phony Values Campaigns by the Corporatists
Victor Grossman
A Big Rally and a Bavarian Vote
James Bovard
Groped at the Airport: Congress Must End TSA’s Sexual Assaults on Women
Jeff Roby
Florida After Hurricane Michael: the Sad State of the Unheeded Planner
Wim Laven
Intentional or Incompetence—Voter Suppression Where We Live
Bradley Kaye
The Policy of Policing
Wim Laven
The Catholic Church Fails Sexual Abuse Victims
Kevin Cashman
One Year After Hurricane Maria: Employment in Puerto Rico is Down by 26,000
Dr. Hakim Young
Nonviolent Afghans Bring a Breath of Fresh Air
Karl Grossman
Irving Like vs. Big Nuke
Dan Corjescu
The New Politics of Climate Change
John Carter
The Plight of the Pyrenees: the Abandoned Guard Dogs of the West
Ted Rall
Brett Kavanaugh and the Politics of Emotion-Shaming
Graham Peebles
Sharing is Key to a New Economic and Democratic Order
Ed Rampell
The Advocates
Louis Proyect
The Education Business
David Yearsley
Shock-and-Awe Inside Oracle Arena
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail