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Father Claude

As I was saying.....

I embrace the world from my backyard at the University of Portland, January 1, 2018. I again invite you to "clod-hop" with me on my journeys to Latin America via this blog. More...

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VIVA CHILE (and Cuba) (Category: Cuba)

Preparing for Chile.  My last blog was in October 2014 on food and Buenos Aires. Apologies for the long absence. I will soon return to Santiago, Chile for seminars and lectures. I hope to shed some light,on Chilean politics and society, and even start a controversy or two. Or three.

The photo of a senior citizen in Santiago de Cuba was taken by my sister, Marcelle Leahy. It provides a bridge to Santiago de Chile. Marcelle was visiting Cuba recently with her husband, Senator Patrick Leahy. She travelled to Cuba numerous other times with Patrick (more photos to follow), who is also a fine photographer, husband, and decent senator. During those travels to Cuba, Patrick has been intensely involved with US policy changes toward Cuba, encouraged by none other than Pope Francis and pursued by President Obama. Significant results are seen from the opening of diplomatic relations between the two countries, beginning a new posture toward the Americas. I was privileged to visit Cuba on exciting educational tour organized by Patricia Pomerleau, another outstanding photographer. Runs in the family…

But I digress. It is Marcelle’s personal, human touch that has given a unique depth and special meaning to Senator Leahy’s significant influence on these significant policy initiatives. Specialist now believe that the  relationships between within the Americas  will be significantly affected as a result of normalized relations between Cuba and the US. I am anxious to see how Chileans interpret this new US opening towards Cuba, and share this with you.

Chile provides a unique framework  from which to understand the significance of US/Cuban relations. US involvement in Chile’s 1973 military coup complicated all of US relations with Latin America.  Chile is still struggling with the consequence of the  “War of the Pacific”, 1879-1883. During this major, military operation involving Bolivia and Peru, Chile annexed a significant part of territory that previously belonged to Peru and Bolivia. It will be interesting to see if this complicated and emotional territorial issue is mentioned during the visit of Pope Francis to that region.

Both Cuba and Chile are facing powerful domestic issues. These issues have significance for future cooperation and integration of the region. Many analysts predict that changing relations between USA and Cuba will bring benefits to all of Latin America. Although Chile is seen as one of the closest allies  of the US, Cuban-US relations have traditionally sent destructive tremors throughout the rest of Latin America. Now, Chine has drawn its own conclusions as a result of these tremors.

I look forward to joining my Chilean colleagues in their celebration of their championship in the Copa América (for men), and to remind them that the US women’s team also wond the World Cup.

Permalink | Wednesday, July 8, 2015