By CARLOS ALBERTO MONTANER
It is easy to hate the American people and government. All that's needed is to take seriously the opinions about their criminal conduct written by some U.S. university professors. They are the best source of anti-Americanism known.
I quote from the recent book Ecuador and the United States by historian Ronn Pineo, a professor at Towson University in Maryland: ``In this postwar period the United States accomplished its goal in Ecuador: the banning of progressive political parties; the persecution of left-wing unions; the firing, jailing, beating, exile and murder of independent-minded intellectuals, professors and newspaper reporters; and the undermining of governments it did not like. Through its action, the United States contributed significantly to political instability and undermined the goal of building democracy in Ecuador.''
Some objectives. In other words, for half a century, while steeped in the Cold War, the American people, through their elected presidents (Democrat or Republican), using a CIA controlled by representatives and senators, behaved like a sinister Mafia devoted to cruelly abusing the Ecuadoreans.
I suppose that when Pineo makes these assertions he is aware that, in a republic that functions by the rules of a representative democracy, the final culprit of these criminal actions is the society of murderers and bullies to which he belongs and which he describes.
What source does Pineo utilize to reach such negative conclusions about his country and his compatriots? Basically, the testimony of Philip Agee, a former CIA agent who crossed over to the enemy in the 1960s, becoming a collaborator for Cuban and Soviet intelligence, devoted to the outing of his former colleagues, an act that cost the lives of some of them.
Agee, now an elderly man, continues to live in Cuba, at the head of a company that promotes tourism, but the Castro dictatorship uses him periodically to discredit the United States.
Naturally, Pineo has other enemies, other than the behavior of his compatriots. Like many other Latin American specialists in U.S. universities, he considers anti-communism an unjustifiable attitude. (I don't know -- because he does not make it clear -- whether being anti-Nazi or anti-fascist triggers in him the same revulsion.)
His book exudes an insensitivity to the suffering of the victims of communism. Never mind the horror of those dictatorships, their 100 million dead, their implacable gulags, the misery and desperation of the people who've had to suffer the barbarity of the Marxist-Leninist tyrannies.
In effect, the United States should not have stood up to the Soviet Union and its satellites. The Americans exaggerated the dangers of Soviet expansion and misinterpreted Moscow's true objectives, which were understandably defensive.
The historian's other bétesnoires are the so-called ''neoliberalism'' and international free trade. The privatization of state-run enterprises (a huge source of corruption, patronage and waste), the reduction of public expenditure, along with increased investment in health and education, the fight against inflation, a balanced budget, free-trade agreements, the end of price controls and the liberalization of markets (as recommended by the Washington Consensus, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank) all appear to him to be responsible for an increase in the general wretchedness.
In other words, the measures that turned Chile into the most booming economy in Latin America and allowed that country to reduce its poverty rate from 42 percent to 13 percent during its democratic stage (the same measures that the European Union recommends to the former Soviet satellites that wish to join the E.U.) are responsible for the Ecuadorean mess.
In the end, the Americans are guilty of almost every ill that befalls Latin America. When they ignore what happens south of the Rio Grande, they do so out of a negligent indifference that says those poor people can never develop or attain democracy.
When they try to influence Latin Americans' fate with plans such as the Alliance for Progress (more than $20 billion wasted), the Americans do it clumsily and arrogantly because of their anti-communist paranoia, and then they engage in the assassination of freethinkers, preventing the entrenchment of the concepts of freedom.
I am not surprised, therefore, that the bibliography at the end of the book contains not a single reference to The Customs of Ecuadoreans, an extraordinary study by Osvaldo Hurtado, former president of Ecuador and director of CORDES (Corporation for Development Studies, at www.cordes.org.ec), one of that country's most prestigious think tanks.
Had he read it, he might have better understood the cultural and historical roots of Ecuador's problems and perhaps he might tone down his strong hostility to U.S. society.
But I don't think he'll read it.
©2007 Firmas Press