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The Two Faces of Barack Obama

El Diario/La Prensa, Commentary, Vicky Pelaez, Translated by Elena Shore Posted: Jul 16, 2009

Traduccin al espaol

In politics the middle way is none at all.
- John Adams


The election of Barack Obama presented the world with the possibility of democratic change in the worlds only superpower. The new president captivated local and international audiences with his promises of equality, freedom, peace and prosperity. Even Henry Kissinger said that Obama could create a new world order. But so far, Obamas vision seems to be that of the middle way, and he is looking more and more like George W. Bush, who drove the country into economic collapse.

Obama recently called for people to be patient with the implementation of the economic stimulus plan, which was announced with much fanfare when he came into office. It turns out that the set of data his economic team was using for the plan was "erroneous and incomplete, and requires correcting which will take some time. Curiously, the Obama administration didnt find any errors in its parallel economic stimulus program for the financial sector, nor did they ask bankers to be patient. The state didnt delay in giving banks billions of dollars to continue to operate as usual during the crisis.

Of course the majority of people, used to being silent since the Vietnam War, accepted this with resignation despite the unstoppable growth in the unemployment rate, which has officially surpassed 9.5 percent.

For every five newly unemployed people, there is currently only one remote possibility of finding a part-time job. Apparently Americans must also be patient with hunger, since 18 percent of American children under 17 years old are living in poverty.

Obama isnt capable of helping anyone, let alone the undocumented, who now number more than 20 million. While he promises new immigration reform, anti-immigrant policies are getting worse and raids are increasing. Obamas double talk, both nationally and internationally, allows him to survive in a country where the president only has nominal power. The real power is concentrated in five corporate complexes: the military-industrial complex, energy, finance, pharmaceuticals, and the media. President Barack Obama is their prisoner.

If the Obama who promised to turn the United States into a country where everyone is equal cant even vindicate his own race by freeing black journalist Mumia Abu Jamal, he certainly wouldnt dare to close the 785 U.S. bases in 179 countries. He is all talk: He condemns torture but doesnt dare to punish the torturers. The same thing happened with the military tribunals and the alleged terrorist prisoners who were transferred to 17 naval ships. And it happened with the military coup of President Zelaya in Honduras: Obama called the coup illegal, but he didnt cut off aid to those who perpetrated it.

Obamas "new way" is designed for a silent majority. But the world will no longer be silent.


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