Bush’s Self-Criticism

In a brief 15-minute speech, the President of the United States made some assertions that, had they come from the mouths of any of his adversaries, they would have been described as atrocious and cynical slanders against the economic system of his country which he named “democratic capitalism”.

After dramatically appealing to Congress to allocate an additional 700 billion dollars to cope with the crisis, he cited, among others, the following reasons:

  • This is an extraordinary period for America’s economy.
  • We have seen terrible situations in the U.S. economy.
  • The aim is to preserve the country’s overall economy.
  • I have declared that our global economy remains regulated largely by twentieth century laws and we must update it to the financial structure of the twenty-first century.
  • Banks have restricted credits.
  • Many lenders have approved loans without examining ability to pay.
  • How did we reach this point? What does this mean for the country’s financial future?
  • Economists suggest these are problems that have developed for more than a decade.
  • Most economists agree that the problems we’re witnessing today developed over a long period of time.
  • Many entrepreneurs got loans to start businesses, buy houses and cars. There were many negative consequences, particularly in the housing market.
  • Many mortgage lenders approved loans for borrowers without carefully examining their ability to pay.
  • Many people assumed they would be able to pay their mortgages, but it was not so.
  • All this had effects far beyond the housing market.
  • Securities are sold to investors around the world. Many assumed these securities had a tangible value.
  • Many companies like Freddie Mac borrowed enormous sums of money and put our financial market at risk.
  • The large banks found themselves saddled with large amounts of assets they could not sell.
  • Other banks found themselves in similar situations and available credit dried up.
  • Many believed they were guaranteed by the federal government and put our financial system at risk.
  • The situation became more precarious by the day.
  • I’m a strong believer in free enterprise.
  • The decline in the housing market set off a domino effect.
  • I believe companies that make bad decisions should pay for it. Under normal circumstances, I would have not followed this corse. But these are not normal circumstances.
  • The market is not functioning properly. There has been a widespread loss of confidence.
  • The government’s top economic experts warn that, without immediate action, the country could slip into panic, more banks could fail, there would be negative effects on the retirement accounts, foreclosures would rise and millions of Americans could lose their jobs.
  • The country could experience a long and painful recession. We must not let this happen.
  • Many are asking, how would a rescue plan work?
  • It should be enacted as soon as possible.
  • The federal government would put up to $700 billion to inject liquidity.
  • The government will try to have the markets back to normal as soon as possible.
  • We have seen how one company can grow so large that its failure jeopardizes the entire financial system.
  • The government should be authorized to take a closer look at the companies to ensure that their growth does not threaten the global economy.
  • Democratic capitalism is the best system ever devised.
  • I know that Americans sometimes get discouraged, but this is a temporary situation.
  • History has shown that, in times of real trial, its leaders unite to rise to the occasion.
  • Tomorrow, in the White House, Obama, McCain and other congressional leaders will meet.

He concluded with thanks.

Some have pointed out that his eyes did not for one minute move away from the teleprompter and that he was frowning.

Yesterday, George W. Bush did not only confess these truths; he launched a new sort of Alliance for Progress.

The first of them all was the colossal farce at Punta del Este in 1961, conceived by Kennedy after the Cuban Revolution.

The one before the last, as we know, was Bill Clinton’s and it was called the Free Trade Area for the Americas (FTAA), which was signed in 1994. This one received its coup de grâce in Mar del Plata in the year 2005.

On the same day of his “self-criticism”, Bush launched the Pathways to Prosperity in the Americas Initiative. What a ridiculous name.

After checking the list of the ten Latin American countries committed to the Initiative in New York, I realized the absence of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela and Nicaragua; in other words, almost all of South America and one from Central America, whose former Chancellor, Miguel D’Escoto, a Sandinista and a priest who favor the Theology of Liberation, is now presiding over the United Nations General Assembly.

According to Bush’s recurring fantasy, this project which is being discussed by the news cable agencies, as expressed by the President when he addressed the governments of the ten countries present,

“would permit us to work to ensure that the benefits of trade are broadly shared.”

“It will deepen the connections among regional markets. It will expand our cooperation on development issues.”

“It is a good idea to continue opening up new markets, especially in our own neighbourhood.”

Such events constitute excellent study material for the ideological battle.

What kind of progress can imperialism guarantee for any Latin American country, with its atomic weapons, its arms industry, its escorted fleets of nuclear aircraft carriers, its wars of conquest, its unequal exchange and permanent pillaging of other peoples?

Self-criticism is not a category under “democratic capitalism”. Anyway, we shouldn’t be ungrateful or impolite: we should thank Bush for his brilliant contribution to political theory.

Fidel Castro Ruz
September 25, 2008
6:35 p.m.