Long ago in my student days, my political science professor drew a squiggly map of the world on the blackboard. He elaborated on the topics we would be discussing that year, pointing to various spots the map around the Middle East, Africa, China, Russia and Southeast Asia. He drew lines from North America and Western Europe, adding more details as he went, muttering random thoughts about the Cold War, dictators and international terrorism.
About 15 minutes into the introductory talk, he paused, realized he'd forgotten to draw South America. He hastily drew a clumsy blob in the general vicinity of where it was supposed to be, noting with a shrug that "we wouldn't be focusing on that part of the world too much, anyway. When it comes to international relations, it doesn't really matter." And that was that. So much for the 400 million salsa-dancing non-entities below the Panama Canal.
Even today, Venezuela, like much of South America, gets short shrift when it comes to how North Americans see the world. Venezuelan Dictator (er, President) Hugo Chavez can fulminate on...More >>