A Not-So-Rosy View of the U.S. (Caribbean Perspective Interviews PART 2)
At the end of my interview with Elvis, a native Costa Rican, I asked a particularly difficult question that provoked a response worthy of its own blog post. Read PART 1 here!
As a political science geek, I knew it could be a touchy question, but it was one I couldn’t resist asking:
What do you think of the United States?
12) Give me 3 words that enter your mind when you think of the United States.
I’m sorry but I can’t describe what I think of the U.S. with only three words – I think I would need to write a bible. I know there are millions of nice people there, like you, but I don’t like the U.S. It evokes fear and anger in me.
13) I know that many people think that way of the U.S, but most of us wish the world didn’t feel that way, which is why I asked. What angers you most about the U.S.?
Listen, we have a million problems with the U.S. First, they came from Europe and stole our land, divided our gorgeous and rich country, called us foreigners and became the ‘owners’ of America when we are truthfully Americans as well. Well, you know the history, let’s talk about the present.
Now there are so many people in the U.S. that are poor, many assassins, thieves, drug addicts, mafia, perhaps the most corrupt people of the world live there. But with an American passport you can travel anywhere in the world, even if you only have enough money to buy the airfare.
Two years ago I bought a ticket from an American company to fly to Europe, and I had a layover in the U.S. When I went to get a transit visa from the U.S. Embassy they told me you have to have a bank account of $10,000 to pass through the U.S. I didn’t have that at the time so I explained that I would lose my airfare, and they said “I don’t know, those are the rules in the U.S.” It was then that I realized that they see us as trash. They can come here and eat our food, bring our goods back to the states, and then make laws so that I can’t even stay in the airport for 2 hours to change planes. The U.S. treats many innocent people like terrorists, when they are the ones invading other parts of the world, including Latin America.
My friends that live on the Pacific Coast were walking along the beach one day when the police came to tell them that they couldn’t be there because it was Mel Gibson’s property. What do you think about that, an American comes to my home to tell me that I can’t walk on my beaches? I think it’s the end of our species. I know important groups from the U.S., like the CIA, have done many terrible things and falsely accused other countries of many things that they didn’t do. All the wars that the U.S. is involved in are only to steal; I know that this is never going to change…every day they do more bad things, and if there is another world war someday it will be caused by the U.S.
This honest and candid response was somehow both unsurprising and quite eye-opening. It is a reaction based on the culmination of personal experiences, portrayals of the United States in the news, and actual actions committed by the U.S.
I don’t think Elvis is alone in his perception, but not everyone is quite as forthcoming about their views on the U.S. for fear of upsetting someone. His response was intended to hold the utmost respect for the average American, including myself, and certainly was not meant to offend anyone. It is important to note that he is not referring to tourists or the general population of our country. I am extremely grateful for his honesty.
Thoughts? Reactions? Let me know what you think.