Thursday, October 21, 2010

Communist Group Credits Faleomavaega

Saying “His call for Washington to assert its own position on Fiji and other regional matters now appears to have received a favorable hearing in the State Department,” the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI), through its official World Socialist Website, has credited American Samoa congressional Delegate Eni Faleomavaega with playing the key role in changing the U.S. government’s position on dealing with the Fiji dictatorship.

The ICFI is the international Communist organization that follows the Marxist teachings of Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky, a leading rival to Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin until Stalin had him assassinated in 1940. Although Faleomavaega was for years a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, from its inception in 1991 until he quietly dropped out when his membership threatened to become a campaign issue earlier this decade, and the caucus has ties with Democratic Socialists of America, it is unclear what ties, if any, Faleomavaega may have with the ICFI or other Trotskyite organizations.

Nonetheless, in addition to his vigorous defense of Fiji military dictator Commodore Frank Bainamarama, Faleomavaega also has been cozy with autocratic leaders in Kazkhstan, Laos and Vietnam, the last where he praised Ho Chi Minh in Hanoi a couple of years ago.

As evidence of the shift in U.S. policy, the ICFI in the article points to

  • Obama recently issuing a personal statement marking the 40th anniversary of Fijian independence;
  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton including the Fiji Foreign Minister in an hour-long meeting in New York with senior Pacific leaders on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting in later September;
  • Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell’s testifying before Faleomavaega’s subcommittee that “Our objective is to put Fiji back on track for . . . elections no later than 2014,” tantamount to endorsing a timetable which now puts “Washington . . . at odds with Canberra on this question:”
  • the U.S. recently announcing it will re-establish an AID mission in Suva after a 15-year absence;
  • State Department opening a new multi-million dollar regional embassy in Suva;
  • The U.S. government issuing no comment on the arrest of former Prime Minister and current Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry, “on spurious charges of breaking an emergency decree . . .”

Faleomavaega no doubt approves of all these developments. At the hearing at which Campbell testified, he said “Clearly, the Australian and New Zealand policy of sanctions and isolating and punishing Fiji has not only failed but totally been counterproductive. For too long we effectively outsourced our policymaking toward the Pacific Islands to Australia and New Zealand. “

“Unfortunately,” he continued, “the sometimes imperious attitudes and actions of our friends in Canberra and Wellington toward the Pacific Islands have fostered a degree of resentment and distrust that has limited their influence as well as their ability to represent US views and interests . . . By deferring to the foreign ministries of Canberra and Wellington, we left a vacuum in the Pacific that China has been only too eager to fill.”

Given Faleomavaega’s closeness to Communist China in recent years, it is unclear why he is expressing concern about China’s activities in the Pacific and the article in this publication sheds no light on that.

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