Pulling off a seemingly impossible feat, Fulton Armstrong has managed to position himself to the left of John Kerry on the issue of democracy.
Fulton Unhappy with Kerry’s Commitment to Democracy
It seems that Fulton Armstrong, the former Senate Foreign Relations Committee staffer known for a career of finding ways (many times under his superior’s noses) to accommodate Cuba’s brutal dictatorship, was not happy with U.S. Senator and Secretary of State nominee John Kerry’s (his former boss) commitment to democracy programs and the rule of law during his confirmation hearing.
Note that this ideological rant comes from an academic institution (God bless academic freedom, it’s just too bad they don’t feel Cubans should have those same rights):
As expected, Kerry did not advocate any major shifts or offer new ideas on U.S. policy toward Latin America – obviously preferring to avoid confrontation with Menendez and Republican Cuban-American Marco Rubio. Kerry’s strategy was to ruffle no feathers. His remarks about President Uribe, for example, appeared intended to assuage right-wingers unhappy with his focus as Chairman on the Colombian President’s dismal human rights record and lack of accountability for a host of abuses of power. Likewise, agreeing with Menendez that President Chávez was a problem was thin gruel; eagerly awaiting the Venezuelan’s demise does little to address the shortcomings of U.S. leadership in the hemisphere.
Latin America-watchers know well that Kerry and President Obama will be more focused on other regions, leaving space for the SFRC conservatives to weigh more heavily on Latin American policy than they already do. Despite the Cuban-American community’s obvious shifts away from most elements of the right wing’s Cuba policy, Menendez and Rubio have already declared they will block any efforts toward better relations with Cuba even on a people-to-people level. By extension, they will oppose any outreach to Venezuela before they believe regime change has occurred. Nor did Kerry offer any departures from the U.S. war on drugs.