Michael Silverman’s Jan. 3 My View column reflects the “ugly American” attitude to which Hugo Chavez’s officials in Margarita Island were most likely responding.
This is the attitude of someone who is ignorant of the ways in which United States interests have used Latin American countries as colonial enclaves, extracting resources and capital without regard to the well being or autonomy of the citizens of those countries.
When populist demagogues take power in countries such as Venezuela, it is not surprising that an airplane full of American tourists, landing in a “third world airport” such as you describe, are treated with disdain, and their presence under these circumstances may be seen as an opportunity to retaliate against historical mistreatment.
We do not condone that kind of behavior, we simply ask Silverman to open his mind to the awareness of the geopolitical realities that contribute to the situation he and his wife were in in 2008, and that he would recognize his own attitude and behavior as contributing to the problem.
We are asking Silverman to further understand that the kind of “third world” conditions he described are present here in Buffalo, with many of our citizens living in situations caused by historical political and economic circumstances that keep them from earning fair wages, obtaining an education, or owning a home, much less than even getting to the point to “crave a vacation” they could not possibly ever afford.