This is the last excerpt from the speech of the Rev. Israel Batista Guerra, the General Secretary of the Latin American Council of Churches, that I plan to post. For the earlier posts and comments see here and here. In this excerpt Guerra shares his perceptions and understandings, as one Cuban-born and living in Ecuador, of the animosity toward the U.S. that often manifests itself in Latin America. Whether you agree with him or not, I think we should listen in an effort to understand how others see us. The following is a list of his reasons for the resentment and animosity.

"Manifest destiny: The United States assuming a messianic and missionary role toward the rest of the world: the model of democracy and society that is to be implanted on a global scale.

Individualistic enclave: An individualistic and fragmented understanding of the human being, guided by egoism and excluding [?sic] efficiency. What counts is to be winners, without concern for whoever gets left behind.

Parochial vision: Feeling itself threatened, the country looks for enemies, and in seeking security fosters the ideology lf violence and terrorism. The physical and mental borders are closed and a limited vision of the world acquired.

Corporate interests: In the past the United States was and made itself known through its people. Today it is the corporate interests and their transnational businesses that present the image of its society. The United States is its people and not its corporate interests. We want to be in relationship with the noble citizen who walks the streets of its cities and worships God in the temples." full article pdf link at bottom of page

(an okie gardener again) As I mentioned before, I asked for and received permission from the speaker to excerpt from his speech (text provided to the audience). He seems a genuine, amiable, committed Christian.

How do I react to his statements? Well, first I must listen. After all, the point here is not so much to argue as to hear what others think, how others perceive us. Reflecting on his list, there is much that makes sense. Regarding his comments on "Manifest Destiny", no one likes a superior attitude in another, even if the other person is helpful. "Individualistic enclave," even here in the US our ever-strengthening dogma of individualism has damaged community ties and weakened mutual commitment. "Parochial vision," yes, we Americans tend to be ignorant of other nations' histories and desires--I have often asked my US History classes to name the current Prime Ministers or Presidents of Canada and Mexico, Japan and Great Britain, and give a very short sketch of that nation's history and the results are consistent, we know butkis. Insofar as he imples that we must go looking for enemies, I disagree, but I need to know that there are those who see US this way. "Corporate interests," no argument from me on that one.