On Monday October 31 Dr Oscar Arias visited the School of Trans Border Studies at ASU and I had the honor of giving him a tour of the Changing Boundaries Map Exhibit. Arias won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to end the fighting in Central America in the 1980’s while he was President of Costa Rica the first time. Before the tour he gave a short talk about his attempt to get the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) passed by the US Senate. During the talk he told a story about US politics that I am paraphrasing here:
” In the 1980’s Senators Ted Kennedy and George Mitchell and other Democrats supported my Central American Peace Plan but then in 2006 the same Democrats opposed CAFTA (the Central American Free Trade Agreement).
I was puzzled by this until I figured out that they weren’t trying to do the right thing. They supported my peace plan because President Reagan a Republican opposed it and years later they opposed the trade agreement because President Bush another Republican supported it. It was all about politics not about what was best for the US or for the world.”
A depressing story from someone who has seen politics from the inside.
Dr Arias used his Nobel award money to start a peace foundation.