Tuesday, September 02, 2003

By their friends, ye shall know them
Fidel is having a hoedown (sponsored by the UN, natch) and all his pals have shown up - Castro Closes Ranks With Friendly Leaders:
Alienated from European nations after a crackdown on the opposition and the execution of three ferry boat hijackers, President Fidel Castro closed ranks Monday with friendly African, Caribbean and South American heads of state at a U.N. conference.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez — who faces his own headaches at home, where last week he announced new plans by opponents to topple him — joined Castro and in a fiery speech criticized leaders of powerful industrialized nations for promising grand solutions yet doing nothing to solve developing nations' grave environmental and financial problems.

What they have done is absolutely insignificant given the gravity of the problem," Chavez said, blaming globalization and failed neoliberal economic policies. "Neoliberalism has been defeated," Chavez proclaimed to audience applause. "Now we're going to bury it, starting this century."
Hmmm - the nominal purpose of the conference, beyond padding expense accounts, was "desertification." Apparently it is a critical problem in the jungles of Cuba and Venezuela. And in Zimbabwe too, I guess:
"Coming to Cuba is to come to a country where there are true friends of Africa," Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe said.
Many of the Africa presidents in attendance hail from countries whose independence struggles were aided by Cuba in the 1980s and 1990s.
If the American taxpayer didn't fund these UN sponsored reunions, how would old pals get together? I can't help but think, though, that a few JDAM's on the conference hall would add an appropriately festive air. And cut down on global warming too.