Fr. Miguel d’Escoto – Open letter to President Obama

His Excellency Barack Obama
President of the United States of America

Managua, Nicaragua, August 4th, 2013

Dear Brother President Barack Obama,

I write to you this Sunday morning, August 4th, 2013, with a heart overflowing with the purest and most intense love for you, Michelle, Natasha and Malia Ann, your two beautiful young girls that are so quickly turning into beautiful and sensitive young ladies. With much love also for your entire country, the country where I first saw the light of day, where I received most of my formal education and where, through the example of Martin Luther King Jr., I came to understand better than through any theological text book, what it meant to be a follower of Jesus.

This, President, is my second letter to you. The first was an extremely positive and hope-filled letter. I wrote it from the U.N. when I was still serving as president of the 63rd General Assembly session. This one comes from the same heart full of love and concern for humanity and Mother Earth. Now times have changed but not so U.S. foreign policy.

Why should you read this letter? I am an old man now, perhaps not far from the end of my life, someone with whom you share, ideologically speaking, next to nothing. Perhaps you should read it because all my life I have taken inspiration from outstanding US citizens whose examples instill an abiding faith in humanity’s power to redeem itself. Or perhaps because I recognize the unquestionable historical and contemporary contributions of the people of the United States to the world. For my part, I think you should read this letter because, intellectually, anyone who refuses to engage other rationalities risks, if they are powerful enough, committing terrible crimes.

It seems that even those who appear to be the nicest of people undergo a profound metamorphosis when invested with power; often they suddenly become insensitive, lawless despots and cruel to the point of criminality. No matter how much they disliked and denounced their predecessors and loudly proclaimed the need to change, when power is invested on them, they most often find it impossible not to play the tyrant role.

I am writing this second letter from the privacy of my bedroom, sitting by the window, on the rocking chair where I daily sit for hours of thought, prayer and reflection. As I write these words, my left hand extending all the way up to my heart, is resting on my bed. This is the bed on which my father died, on which my mother agonized and the one, perhaps, where I will breathe my last. I consider this room a sacred place. A place where I feel the presence of God, of my father and mother, of my Lord Jesus and of my Mother Mary. They are watching and, I hope, inspiring me, as I write this difficult but love filled letter to you.

I well remember, how could I forget?, the banner of “credible change” under which you, dear brother, ran your campaign for the presidency of what, in God’s presence, I can only refer to as the terrorist, murderous and genocidal U.S. imperialism. I know it is difficult to hear such words, but believe me, for someone who treasures the people of the United States as I most certainly do, it is far more difficult to utter them. Nonetheless, truth must never be concealed, not if we want freedom. As Jesus himself said the truth will make us free.

As things stand now, most people in the world know what the U.S. is all about: Full Spectrum Dominance. They know that the U.S. is hooked on wars of aggression; possessed by the demons of greed and domination to the extent that it will stop at nothing till it is fully satisfied that it has achieved a total and absolute control over planet Earth, its atmosphere, outer space and cosmic implications.

The only people on Earth that don’t know what the U.S. is all about are the people of the U.S. itself because they have been subjected all of their lives to official lying and deceit, which is how the U.S. government deals with its own people. The U.S. army wants blindly obedient solders that don’t hesitate when ordered to go murder people in far away places they had never even heard of and never quite came to understand why they should kill them. That, of course, is the reason why so many U.S. soldiers commit suicide while on location or when they return home. They simply can’t stand having been turned into murderers. Such is the insane madness of which Tolstoy spoke and which I call insane and suicidal madness. There is no human or divine law by which the U.S. has proven willing to abide.

What the world is witnessing today is not all that surprising or unforeseen. In my part of the world, back in the early eighteen hundreds, Simon Bolivar prophetically proclaimed: “The United States seems to have been destined by Providence to plague our America with miseries in the name of liberty.” And closer to our own days, in the early nineteen hundreds, our great Augusto C. Sandino wrote: “North American capitalism has reached the last phase of its development, transforming itself, as a result, in imperialism; it no longer cares the least about theories of law and justice.”

Upon reading these words by two of our greatest Latin American heroes and prophets, some people in the U.S. might outright disregard them saying that these are words of people who dislike the U.S. because they, in fact, hate freedom and democracy, which, so they say, is what the U.S. stands for. That was the way I once heard President Bush Jr. explain criticism of U.S. foreign policy. That started me wondering what a freedom hating person really was.

The fact however is that back in your own turf in the year 1858 Oliver Wendell Holmes, father of the famous associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court –announced that “we are the Romans of the modern world –the great assimilating people. CONFLICTS AND CONQUESTS ARE OF COURSE NECESSARY ACCIDENTS WITH US, AS WITH OUR PROTOTYPES”. This is such a preposterous statement that I thought it merited being written all in caps.

These words were clearly meant to excuse the U.S. of responsibility for any of its crimes, past, present or future. After all, large scale looting and murder is what empires are all about. And now it is the U.S. turn to play that role. Only two years after the above passage was written by Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., on June 27th, 1860, The New York Times published a poem by Walt Whitman entitled “The Errand-Bearers” that triumphantly proclaimed America’s imperial destiny:

“I chant the new empire, grander than any before – as in a
vision it comes to me,
I chant America, the Mistress – I chant greater supremacy…

This poem was later included in Whitman’s great epic, Leaves of Grass.

So it’s quite evident to me that what is now being harvested as America’s behavior is what has been sown in its soul as its God-given mission. But clearly there is nothing godly about such arrogance and utter disregard for law and the dignity of human being regardless of race, nationality or creed. Only worshipers of the golden calf would think otherwise.

It is this kind of thinking that has resulted in turning the U.S. itself into the worst plague that has ever afflicted humankind and our Earth. In fact, I am one of a growing global majority who think the warmongering foreign policy of the U.S. is what has brought the world to the dire condition in which it finds itself. This includes the fact that, for the first time in history, humanity faces a real possibility of extinction.

Surely, it was to prevent this kind of crime that you were elected President of the United States, in order to help the U.S. to turn its back on terrorism and give humanity a chance by joining the human family, where it belongs and where it would be most welcomed. By continuing to follow, the megalomaniac, satanic U.S. aspiration of Full Spectrum Dominance, the U.S. will only hasten not just its own demise but that of all of us.

But, dear President Obama, you are humanity’s last chance. Don’t miss it; don’t waste it; don’t be afraid if those whose hearts are full of hate don’t like what you say and do. As a follower of Jesus you should expect that. Be the man God meant you to be and that those who voted for you expected you to be. You’re meant to play an extremely significant role not only for the U.S. but for humanity as a whole and our Mother Earth. Forget what the industrial-military complex and Wall Street want. Follow your conscience and having heard one of your pastors, Jeremiah Wright, I know yours has been well formed.

Some people, not just a few, are saying that, from the point of view of respect of human dignity, life, peace and respect for sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of other countries, you are turning out to be even worse than your predecessor President Bush. That’s quite a mouthful. It’s hard to imagine anything worse. They may be right but I still refuse to give up on you.

Fasten your seat-belt and begin the real struggle for which you wanted to be President of the United States and for which God had you elected. Have courage because God’s amazing grace will never fail you. Acknowledge courageously that any imperialism, of the U.S. or any other world power, is diabolical, it is what crucified Jesus and is responsible for the death of millions during the last decade alone. Have the courage to acknowledge also that capitalism is, in fact, the most unchristian doctrine and practice ever devised by man in order to keep us separate and unequal in a kind of global apartheid.

God save us all from greed, selfishness, warmongering, lust for Full Spectrum Dominance and from the deeply misguided foreign policy of the United States of America itself, which, after all, is the very personification of all those lethal vices that are threatening the human species with extinction.

Love and blessings upon you, Michelle and the girls,

Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, M.M.
Catholic priest
Former Foreign Minister of Nicaragua
President of the 63rd UN General Assembly Session