Bush Visits Guatemala

Last week President Bush visited various Latin American countries, including Columbia, Brazil and Guatemala.

Here is what MSM (mainstream media) and the blogosphere say about the trip. Tough crowd. Tough crowd.

  • Spring break from the Economist
    Expectations are low as George Bush sets off to a region he has neglected throughout much of his presidency

    Here is a letter to the Editor from the Foreign minister of Guatemala in response to comments madethe above article

    Why Mr Bush paid a call

    SIR – You said that George Bush’s visit to Guatemala was “largely to thank the government for joining America’s ‘coalition of the willing’ in Iraq” (“Spring break”, March 3rd). In fact, Guatemala was the only country in Central America that did not join the “coalition of the willing” in the absence of a UN Security Council resolution sanctioning the use of force in Iraq.

    We would like to think that President Bush’s stop in our country was partly because Guatemala has had such a compelling story to tell since the signing of the 1996 peace accords. While still facing difficult challenges, we have made progress towards becoming a pluralist, democratic society. It is well known that the United States has not always been an objective bystander in domestic events, but I am happy to confirm the point you made that in more recent times our bilateral relationship has been very constructive and mutually respectful.

    Gert Rosenthal
    Foreign minister of Guatemala
    Guatemala City

  • Guatemala: Photos from indigenous protest of Bush visit from Boing Boing

    Read the text of the post for some commentary from Allen Sullivan, the photojournalist who snapped the shots.

  • Latin America Trip Not Entirely Business as Usual from NPR

Bonus Latin American Story:
Banana profits went to terrorists from Foreign Policy Blog
Banana companies, like Chiquita, have had to pay protection money to terrorist orgs to prevent their employees from being murdered or harassed.

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Warm regards,

Cat

So let me put my biases on the table before I begin the discussion. I’m black, a nice chocolaty black, not so black that I’m purple, but black. In the black community as in many communities around the world, lighter skin is viewed favorably particularly in women. There is the whole “lighter is brighter” thing plus the “good hair vs. bad hair” thing. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, watch Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever, particularly the scene with the women are having a pow wow. Anyhoo, that’s where I’m coming from when I read about the Fair and Lovely Debate being played out between C.K. Prahalad and Aneel Karnani from U. of Michigan. See these posts from Salon’s HTWW () and NextBillion.net () for a summary.

Here are a few questions the whole debate made me think of:

1) Is it progress when a person purchases a product that allows them to rise above their station when the underlying discrimination that determines their station doesn’t change?

This is one of those questions is that much better with examples as my answers definitely vary.

Example 1: A person with a thick Mancunian accent gets elocution language to sound posh like Lady Di.

Okay, that seems fair enough. Sure it would be nice if all regional accents were equal (some are actually quite lyrical) but that doesn’t bother me too much. It saddens me because diversity is lost, but it doesn’t really bug me.

Example 2: A

Example 3: A person with dark skin buys Fair and Lovely to lighten their skin.

Now that really bothers me. I was trying to figure out why aside from the obvious reasons.

2) Is it empowerment when people who would not have dared to try to “pass” can buy things that allow them to do so now?

I think it is in that people are recognizing the racist system in which they live and doing what they can do get by within it. It is crafty and from the buyer’s side is a smart move.

3) Is it an example that I would use to illustrate the success of the BOP concept?

Uh no. It’s creepy. However you slice it and regale the customer’s rationale choices, Unilever is making a profit off the fact that a certain type of racism/classism exists in India and other places. Ew. Yes it is a product that the people want, but ew just the same. Sure, I probably would be less bothered if it were any other cosmetic and yes I am sensitive about this issue, but still.

A Tale of Two Leadership Academies

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