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Published on Thursday, April 18, 2002
 
Ari the Evader by Russell Mokhiber...
 
Ari & I
White House Press Briefing with Ari Fleischer
 
 
Thursday, April 18, 2002 12:15 PM
 
 
by Russell Mokhiber
 
     
  Russell Mokhiber: Ari, you said the other day that the United States is "set in stone against military coups of any kind." And yet, there is a long history of the United States organizing coups against democratically elected leaders, including, Arbenz in Guatemala, Mossadegh in Iran, Allende in Chile and Lumumba in the Congo. So, when you said we are "set in stone against military coups of any kind," were you announcing a new policy?

Ari Fleischer: Russell, I think the examples you use are interesting. I think when you talked about Iran, you just went back to 1954. President Bush came into office here in 2001. And one of the great prides and success stories of American politics has been that in the last 20 years, there has been a wonderful sea change in Central and South America, brought in large part, as a result of Otto Reich and Elliot Abrams and others -- Ronald Reagan, George Bush -- who worked very hard to bring democracy to the region. And as a result, there is a difference in the military in those regions. One of the big changes is that the United States military cooperates with militaries of the region -- are focused on making sure that they adhere to the rule of law. And there has been a dramatic and very helpful change that brought democracy to the region. That's why President Bush travelled to El Salvador and Peru, to highlight the importance of democracy. I can't speak to everyone of those examples. But there was differences in America's policies in the past. And I think that governments should be given credit when changes are made. And those changes that began some 20 years ago were continued by successive administrations, including President Clinton.

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-Thanks to Russell Mokhiber

White House reporter Russell Mokhiber is the editor of the Washington, D.C.-based Corporate Crime Reporter - www.corporatecrimereporter.com. He co-authors the weekly Focus on the Corporation column with Robert Weissman which Common Dreams publishes. He can be reached at: russell@nationalpress.com

 

 
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