News of US Ambassador Kristie Kenney’s statements on an ailing former President Corazon Aquino made the news today. The statements were taken from a US embassy cable released by whistle-blower website Wikileaks. As previously reported in this blog, Kenney called Aquino a “partial icon of morality” for allying herself with dubious characters like deposed president Joseph Estrada vs Gloria Macapgal Arroyo. The statement by Kenney merely reflects how the US viewed Philippine politics and GMA during that period.
The Wikileaks cables from the US embassy in Manila dicussed at length the presidency of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, especially at the height of the movement calling for her ouster.
Several cables also revealed that the US was tracking the developments of mass actions and whether a critical mass would be reached by the opposition to oust Arroyo from power. These embassy cables noted that the anti-Arroyo protests have “fizzled”.
While the US keenly observed the intense political developments from 2005 (Garci scandal), 2006 (state of emergency) and 2008 (ZTE scanda), the embassy seemed content with the way Arroyo handled and weathered the crisis. The US did not raise a howl over the declaration of a state of emergency and merely reiterated a call for respect for human rights and the rule of law.
The US did not want Arroyo to go, that’s for sure. The US did not want any people power to take place because it believes this would further destabilize the Philippines and affect investments. Truth is, the US supported the corrupt and fascist Arroyo government because the US was benefitting from the arrangements with GMA.
Here’s what one of the cables say, which reflects the overall attitude of the US:
“President Arroyo’s statement that the world would not forgive another popular revolt, while self-serving, carried a fundamental truth. Another people power revolution would make a habit of changing presidents between elections, through constitutionally-questionable means, with negative implications for political and economic stability, including foreign investment that the Philippines needs to sustain current economic growth.”
The cable was signed by US ambassador Kristie Kenney and was dated February 25, 2008 or just weeks after the testimony of ZTE whistleblower Jun Lozada came out. (View cable here http://wikileaks.org/cable/2008/02/08MANILA483.html)
The US scoffed at the notion that different political forces were uniting against GMA. US ambassador Kristie Kenney, in one of the cables, said that Corazon Aquino’s alliance with deposed president Joseph Estrada “tarnished” Aquino’s reputation.
Kenney, through her Twitter account, would eventually deny this statement. However, the fact that DFA Secretary del Rosario responded to the cable and criticized Kenney, well, it’s a de facto recognition of the cable. It’s also a break from the DFA’s earlier positions of not commenting on the content of Wikileaks cable releases.
Why was the US content with Arroyo? Under Arroyo, the US was able to station hundreds of US troops in Mindanao, a move that was unprecedented since the US bases were kicked out of the country. Arroyo showed unquaified support for US wars inn Afghanistan and Iraq and the US ‘war on terror’. Arroyo was also a strong advocate of neo-liberal economics. The US did not want to change horse midway through the race.
Here lies US hypocrisy. While the US preaches and ‘spreads’ democracy to regimes that are not pro-US, the US supports corrupt, undemocratic and fascist regimes like the Arroyo administration. ###