At her fifth annual Global Development Lecture at the Paepcke Auditorium in Aspen, former Secretary of State Madeline Albright expressed “shock” at current Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s recent proclamation that the United States will no longer promote democracy in the world. Sorry, Madame Secretary, but that is not new.
In 1973, the CIA directed a military coup in Chile that deposed their freely elected president, Salvador Allende, and replaced him with the despot Gen. Augusto Pinochet. Thus ended South America’s oldest constitution and democracy.
The Nixon/Kissinger administration said Allende’s crime was that he was a socialist, but their real problem with him was that he was democratically empowered. Right-wing American governments, of which Albright was not a part, have always had a hard time dealing with democracies.
With them, you have to appeal to the people. With a dictatorship, you only have to do business with one man, and he is more likely to be motivated by money.
The featured speaker at the lecture the night Albright spoke was Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a longtime friend and coworker of Albright’s and the former finance and foreign affairs minister of Nigeria. She told of her country’s struggle to acquire technology and recalled an encounter with a man who had been trained overseas to be a welder and returned to his country only to find there was no electricity to run his welding machine.
Okonja-Iwaeala quoted Nelson Mandela: “Poverty is not an accident. It is man-made, and only mankind can cure it.”
Fred Malo Jr.