Tuesday, February 13, 2007

America's Favorite Tyrant (part 4)

The world sometimes may seem very "bizarro," but to ExxonMobil things are fine. During questioning from a 2004 Senate Hearing on corruption, executive vice president Andrew P. Swiger said:

"Business arrangements we have entered into [with Equatorial Guinea] have been entirely commercial, have been at market-based rates, arm's length transactions, fully recorded on our books. They are a function of completing the work that we're there to do, which is to develop the country's petroleum resources and, through that and our work in the community, make Equatorial Guinea a better place."

What does this all have to do with Cuba? EVERYTHING.

The US position on dictators is clear: they don't care for their human rights abuses. If they say they do, it's a lie. The US government looks for profits before principles. It's not the other way around. It explains why they ignore the calls of Cuban dissidents on the island, the majority of which reject US policy. It explains why much of US policy towards Cuba is counter-productive in addressing human rights abuses, policies which most human rights organizations condemn year after year. This explains why many nations, besides Cuba, point at US hypocrisy. Some would say that this is cold reality, but some of these people still consider governments as moral agents. Institutions (the US government) are not moral agents, people (citizens) are.

Looking at the Parade list the other day, at those cruel faces of tyranny, each one with hands that have caused someone to suffer harshly, made me wonder: how can such power over people still exist in the world? The answer can only be that the concerns of people all over the world are secondary to the demands for profits of corporations all over the world.

And only people, not governments, can refuse to be accomplices to such abuse of power.

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