No apology for CIA coup plotting? Well, how about a photo then…

June 23, 2009

President Barack Obama artfully dodged a request from Chilean reporters Tuesday for an apology for CIA meddling in Latin America, but he caved in to another demand.
 
“President Obama, can you take a photograph with the Chilean press, please?” one reporter OBAMA/asked at the end of an Oval Office statement by Obama and Chilean President Michelle Bachelet.
 
“A photograph with the press?” Obama asked. “OK, why don’t we go outside?”
 
The U.S. leader was less forthcoming on the matter of apologizing for the CIA’s long history of meddling in the affairs of Latin American governments.
 
The CIA has denied direct involvement in the overthrow and death of Chilean President Salvador Allende in 1973 but has acknowledged trying to prevent him from assuming the presidency three years earlier.
 
And it has acknowledged supporting the military junta that took control of country after the coup.
 
Bachelet, then a college student, was imprisoned and tortured following the coup, as was her mother. Her father, who had been an air force general in the Allende government, was imprisoned and tortured to death.
 
Asked if it was time for an apology for the CIA’s activities in Chile, Obama said, “I’m interested in going forward, not looking backward.”
 
“I think that the United States has been an enormous force for good in the world. I think there have been times where we’ve made mistakes,” he said. “But I think that what is important is looking at what our policies are today, and what my administration intends to do in cooperating with the region.”
 
That said, he did manage a chuckle at U.S. expense — over the old joke that there’s never been a coup in the United States because it has no American Embassy.
 
Someone else told the joke, Bachelet insisted after it was attributed to her.
 
“I just said it was a good joke,” she said.
 
“Yes, it is,” said Obama, laughing.
 
For more Reuters political news, please click here.

Photo credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque (Obama, Bachelet pose with Chilean traveling press)

6 comments

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I would wager the President would not laugh at a joke about the brutality of slavery or the holocaust.

U.S. Embassy’s around the world are known to be CIA outposts. South America and South East Asia are littered with bones of the dead due to CIA meddling. I’m sure if one digs hard enough one will find similar CIA involvement around the world.

One who is unwilling to admit past mistakes has little incentive to stop making them.

Posted by Anubis | Report as abusive

“I think there have been times where we’ve made mistakes” – Obama five sentences above your comment, read, then post.

Posted by two comments | Report as abusive

“I think that the United States has been an enormous force for good in the world”

Too bad we have to keep repeating this lie– it hasn’t been true for a long long time.

Maybe 1 day we’ll realize we have to keep apologizing because we keep doing really bad things and lying to the world about it (coups against deocracy, torture, Iraq War, etc. etc.).

Wake up people!!

Posted by James Lamb | Report as abusive

Instead of a photo, you were expecting a “flying shoe” as an answer?. Chilean reporters were more decent than that, considerating that Obama recognized a mistake made by his country. Who deserved a ton of flying shoes was his predecessor.

Posted by david | Report as abusive

I meant, his predecessor was who deserved a ton of flying shoes over his head. May be this reaction adjusts to the author´s parameters.

Posted by david | Report as abusive

i find it ironical that the people in europe that dislike america normally have never been here,and most americans like james lamb who consistently berate the country have probably not been outside of USA.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive