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Who’s the ‘Banana Republic’ Now?

If you’re not in the habit of following the international news closely, as most Americans are not, you might easily have overlooked the astonishing events in Peru, where President Pedro Castillo attempted to overthrow the country’s government to evade multiple corruption investigations against him and his family by dissolving Congress and declaring an “emergency government.” This coup attempt was foiled by the resignation of several of his cabinet officials, and the swift action of the country’s Congress, which impeached him by an overwhelming vote of 101 to 6 and removed him from office. The president was actually arrested by police and is now in jail, awaiting trial, whereas our own coup-plotter-in-chief was not removed from office and almost two years later has yet even to be formally charged with anything. And the hapless Castillo didn’t even resort to the sort of violence Trump did on the January 6 that will forever live in infamy.

The point may seem too painfully obvious to need making, but I will make it nonetheless: Peru’s democracy may be troubled, but it is obviously much healthier than America’s, in the same way that a patient who shrugs off the flu after a few days in bed obviously has a much healthier immune system than one who lands in the hospital for weeks from the same ailment. Former political allies of Castillo’s joined in the vote to kick him out of office for trying to overthrow the government, as opposed to the paltry few Senators and Representatives of the MAGA-tized Republican Party who did so after Trump’s poo-poo putsch. One wishes rather more of them would have adopted the attitude of Ed Malaga-Trillo, the independent Peruvian lawmaker who the Washington Post reports began the impeachment effort against the leftist Castillo. This gentleman noted how the American would-be dictator Donald “Very Stable Genius” Trump has just demanded the U.S.  Constitution be suspended so he could return at once to the White House. “Stupidity doesn’t have an ideology,” Malaga-Trillo said. “It doesn’t belong exclusively to the left or the right.” These words may yet prove a fitting epitaph for “the American experiment.”

Ah, but will we heed them? Americans and foreigners alike who attempt to criticize American arrogance have always had a hard time of it. The national amour propre, once so powerful as to brush off all such criticism, justified or not, without a second thought, has long since become so brittle as to go nuts whenever the mildest rebuke is voiced. It is about time we, as a people, cut the crap. We can no longer presume to lecture the rest of the world on democracy and the rule of law. On the contrary, we have much to learn in this century’s worldwide struggle against fascism from the countries we once unthinkingly called “banana republics,” without ever once stopping to ask ourselves just who was demanding to consume for the low, low price of slave labor all those damn bananas.


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