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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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Chilean island of ChiloŽ, with her husband Carlos.
Having just returned from Chile and Argentina, i share a reflection on the Venezuelan political meltdown. "And just like that, Christmas came early for the strongman in Caracas". That comment was just sent by Paul Gallegos, Venezuelan analyst at Control Risks. It is an interpretation of the threat made by Mr. Trump to intervene militarily in Venezuela. Such an armed intervention, redolent of the Bay of Pigs, threatens to wipe out, through one, loose rattle of an addled brain, the recent rapprochement of the US with Cuba. But wait; there’s more.

Back in Chile, commentators expressed surprise at Trump’s identification of George Washington with that of a traitor and rebel, Robert E. Lee, who dramatically failed to destroy the country of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Now, just imagine that President Roosevelt had said in 1941 that there was no significant moral difference between Prime Minister Winston Churchill and General Hideki Tojo — except, of course that this general tried to destroy the USA. A moral distinction of significance.

Vice President Pence met with President Bachelet of Chile and President Macri of Argentina, as Mr. Trump was giving a vigorous defense of Neo-Nazis and the KKK. What would he VP say, pundits inquired? Mr. Trump never never said that, he claimed. Both Latin American presidents turn away in embarrassment.

Thanks to Patricia Pomerleau (my marvelous cousin who makes this blog possible)and her able assistant, Toby, McGuire, I am changing the focus of this blog from its origins in Africa to the more recent voyages in Latin America. In addition, I offer the theme of music in both the accompanying photos and in the new blog heading: music and dance. The heading is a birthday gift from Antonia Ruiz Tagle, a dear, dear friend who lives near the spectacular, Southern

My good friend Quique de Marco reminded me of a quote by Nietzsche which I paraphrase                                           


While in Buenos Aires, I was privileged to attend a concert of the music of Ravel and of de Bussey, played as piano duets by Daniel Barenboim and Martha Argerich. On the following week, in Santiago, I attended a concert of the music of JS Bach and Edward Elgar, conducted and played by Pinchas Zukerman and Amanda Forsyth (a Canadian who is a leading, world cellist), with the National Symphony of Chile. I was proud, in those musical moments, to be associated with some of the best representative artists from the North. Although Barenboim began his musical career in Argentina, I overheard much praise about US artistic prowess.

As I reflect on the recovery of Argentina and Chile from complete democratic meltdown under recent dictatorships, I am sustained by the belief that we too, in USA, will be able to recover from a political and social earthquake that has rattled our democratic system, and that resembles our slow — if uneven and continuing — recovery from 19th Civil War. That conflict has been transmogrified into destructive currents of social, religious, economic and political contents.  This Fall, as I teach a class of politics at UP, I look forward to symbolically taking distance from the US with my students, to examine the  contemporary shaping of foreign policy in South American nations.

Permalink | Monday, August 21, 2017