Speaker Discusses Latin American Politics

Speaker Discusses Latin American Politics

The two-hour event with Tariq Ali was co-sponsored by the UCLA Latin American Center.

We need a world that is not dominated by the market and the drive for profit.

This article was first published in The Daily Bruin.

By Mai Hong, Daily Bruin contributor

Peals of laughter burst from Room 6275 in Bunche Hall on Thursday afternoon.

"What gives a kid the political courage to say that?" bellowed guest speaker Tariq Ali after narrating a story about a rigged election in which a boy refused to play his bugle for the newly elected president and told the general in charge, "You seem keen on playing the bugle; you can play it yourself."

Ali, an author, filmmaker and historian who has been highly critical of the United States and its policies, kept over 80 UCLA students, faculty and guests laughing and engaged in a lecture called "The Latin American Challenge: Chavez, Morales, Castro."

Ali spent more than two hours discussing Latin American policies, including the turbulent events that have occurred throughout Latin America's history.

"There are lots of problems (in Latin America) that should not be underestimated," said Ali as he described the various economic situations and their impact on Latin America.

Ali talked extensively on his encounters with Hugo Chavez, the current president of Venezuela.

"I've interviewed Chavez several times," said Ali, adding that Chavez is a popular candidate in Venezuela. "Every time, Chavez has won (his) elections."

Ali's goes into greater detail on Latin America in his new book, "Pirates of the Caribbean: Axis of Hope," which is set to come out later this year. The book is about Cuba's leader Fidel Castro, Chavez and Evo Morales, the current president of Bolivia.

Besides discussing elections and Latin America, Ali also freely answered questions posed by audience members about other countries and their governments, such as China and South Africa.

Ali said a democracy that supports capitalism is not a true democracy, because they are incompatible.

"We need a world that is not dominated by the market and the drive for profit," Ali said.

Many guests in attendance said they were impressed with his comprehensive knowledge of foreign policies.

"I haven't read any of his books before," said Kathy Laura, a third-year sociology student. "But the event was interesting and really informative."

Other students said they went to take advantage of the lectures on Latin America.

"There aren't many Latin American programs at other universities," said Molly Ball, a graduate student in history.

Published: Friday, October 27, 2006