The Oprah-fication of US Latin American Policy
AMY GOODMAN: Part of Obama’s tour also addressed the United States history of supporting brutal Latin American dictatorships. During a press conference in Chile, the first question a Chilean reporter asked President Obama was about the “open wounds of the dictatorship of General Pinochet.”
REPORTER: [translated] President Obama, you have emphasized and highlighted the economic management of Chile, the leadership in the region—those were your words—and even the successful transitioning to democracy in the difficult years of the 1990s. However, in Chile, President Obama, there are some open wounds of the dictatorship of General Pinochet. In that sense, leaders, political leaders, leaders of the world of human rights, and even members of parliament, the son of murdered Orlando Letelier, the foreign minister, have said that many of these wounds have to do with the United States. I ask you: our justices investigating cases of Allende and the death of Eduardo Frei Montalva; in that new speech that you will announce, do you include that the U.S. is willing to collaborate with those judicial investigations, even that the United States is willing to ask for forgiveness for what it did during those difficult years in the 1970s in Chile?
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Well, on the specific question of how we can work with the Chilean government, any requests that are made by Chile to obtain more information about the past is something that we will certainly consider, and we would like to cooperate. I think it’s very important for all of us to know our history. And obviously, the history of relations between the United States and Latin America have at times been extremely rocky and have at times been difficult. I think it’s important, though, for us, even as we understand our history and gain clarity about our history, that we’re not trapped by our history. And the fact of the matter is, is that over the last two decades we’ve seen extraordinary progress here in Chile, and that has not been impeded by the United States, but in fact has been fully supported by the United States.