United States of Banana

Ángel Guerra
In reference to the depressing television show put on by Donald Trump on February 4 to present the traditional State of the Union address, for this article I am borrowing the title of an extraordinary satirical novel by Puerto Rican writer Giannina Braschi. Braschi’s English-language debut is considered to be the first major tribute to Latino-Caribbean immigration in the United States.

Deploying highly creative literary resources, she dissects the terminal crisis of the Yankee empire which is why I associate her book with the Trumpian discourse-spectacle. The country described by Braschi after the attack on the Twin Towers, where people who resemble headless chickens circulate, is also the country we saw in Trump’s appearance before the U.S. Congress. This was the worst piece of buffoonery ever staged in the building where the next day, following a script written well in advance, the Senate ended  the play by acquitting the president at the impeachment hearing, which had been initiated by a weak and mediocre Democratic Party.

Trump and his entire gang are recalcitrant liars who have managed to surpass any mark of mendacity established in a previous government, even though lying has always been a common recourse for politicians in Washington. We know that. But listening to this speech one could not escape astonishment, for hardly anyone, on that or any other important podium of world politics, has lied as much and in such a cynical and hypocritical way as the president of the United States on this occasion. In a country with millions of poor and helpless people, basic social rights dismantled, unions horribly diminished, infrastructure in critical condition and a growing and scandalous social inequality comparable to that existing in 1929, a Trump drugged by narcissism and demagogy spoke of his very great achievements in terms of salary, employment, health and education which, as any moderately informed person knows, have nothing to do with reality. An occasional good economic wind cannot hide such a social tragedy. Not surprisingly, the anti-immigrant and irrepressibly xenophobic tone of the speech was persistent, some kind of wall god worship, underpinned by invented figures that would prove the criminal nature of those who come to the barrier from the south: mainly the Latinos. As insane as it sounds, this speech suits the Trump voter very well. They are the headless chickens of Braschi, Enajenados, if we speak with political correctness. Alienation is, without a doubt, the worst crime of the capitalist system against human beings.

In a gesture that underscores his adherence to the Monroe doctrine, Trump railed against Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua: “As we restore U.S. leadership in the world, we continue to support freedom in our hemisphere. That is why my administration reversed the failed policies of the previous administration on Cuba. We are supporting the hopes of Cubans, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans to restore democracy. He is once again lying when he says that he is “restoring” the leadership of the United States, when it has never fallen so low before peoples and governments as under his command. He also is lying when he says that he supports freedom “in our hemisphere” when his closest friends are fascist Bolsonaro, repressive Piñera, the narco-paramilitary governments of Ivan Duque and Juan Orlando Hernandez, the hated and corrupt Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, and the murderous dictator and presidential candidate of Bolivia, all of whom are repudiated by their peoples. He also lies when he invokes the hopes of the people, because the only thing that interests Trump is Trump. To listen to a statesman brag about the murders he orders is grotesque. The fact that he is president, even of a powerful country like the United States, does not authorize anyone to break the law at will, even if the Republicans are defending their leader in the impeachment sessions. But frankly, it is repugnant to see this man, so vulgar moreover, displaying as a trophy the head of a fighter for the liberation of the peoples of the Middle East such as the Iranian general Suleimani.

The climax of Tuesday’s election spectacle was the presence of Juan Guaidó, received the next day at the White House. But that is all Washington can do for him, since the coup and terrorist actions have not succeeded in overthrowing Maduro and, on the contrary, the Bolivarian and Chavista Revolution has become ostensibly stronger.

There is nothing like having good friends when you live virtually in the jaws of the beast. After Trump’s bluster, nothing is more auspicious than the visit of Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, to Cuba, Mexico and Venezuela. United Latin America is what Russia wants, according to an official statement from Moscow.

Translation by Internationalist 360º