Libya’s seat at the United Nations is currently vacant. Weeks ago, Muammar Qadhafi fired his U.N. ambassador Mohammed Shalgham after the ambassador denounced the Libyan strongman as a tyrant. In his stead, Qadhafi named another veteran and loyal diplomat, Ali Treki. The U.S. has apparently denied Treki a visa to enter the U.S.
Qadhafi’s dear friend and Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has stepped in, saying he is sending Nicaragua’s former foreign minister and all-purpose anti-American Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann to U.N. headquarters to act on Qadhafi’s behalf.
D’Escoto is no impartial diplomat. He worked previously for Ortega as foreign minister in the 1980s and as the largely symbolic but enthusiastically anti-American president of the 63rd General Assembly in 2008–2009. Now he is being recalled to serve two masters, Qadhafi and Ortega.
The drumbeat from Latin America’s friends of tyranny club has continued in recent days. Presidents Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Christina Fernandez de Kirchner of Argentina stepped up their criticism of U.S. actions in Libya. Cuba’s Fidel Castro, in his latest reflections, compared U.S.–NATO actions in Libya with the Fascists/Nazi attacks on Republican Spain in the 1930s. Bolivia’s Evo Morales demanded that President Obama be stripped of the Nobel Peace prize.
For the moment, while the struggle for Libya’s future see-saws in uncertain combat across the North African desert, the actions of Latin America’s club of tyranny may seem little more than mere pinpricks. Yet their message is clear.
Latin America’s club of tyranny is rallying to defend the legitimacy of a tyrant. Its aim is foremost to impugn international intervention in Libya and build a counter-coalition in defense of Qadhafi. It rejects Western humanitarian rationales and claims to see only the naked force and greed of colonial/imperial powers. Dividing the world between the Empire—i.e.. the U.S. and its allies—and the “liberators” is a vital component of its creed. It also claims to see malignant foreign forces and the hand of capitalism trying to depose a friendly, progressive leader and despoil the Libyan people of their oil and financial wealth.
Secondly, Latin America’s club of tyranny fears the backlash of citizens angered by the inevitable heavy-handed rule of secret police, thugs, and mobs that is integral to its authoritarian model. It knows that in its pseudo-democracies or outright dictatorships its legitimacy is always open to challenge and that the winds of change that blow in the East may turn in their direction unless they can prop up a falling tyrant.