Between 1831 and 1891, US armed forces - usually the Marines - invaded Mexico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Panama, Colombia, Nicaragua, Uruguay, Brazil, Haiti, Argentina, and Chile a total of thirty-one times, a fact not many of us are informed about in school. The Marines intermittently occupied Nicaragua form 1909 to 1933, Mexico from 1914 to 1919, and Panama from 1903 to 1914. To 'restore order' the Marines occupied Haiti from 1915 to 1934, killing over two thousand Haitians who resisted 'pacification.'
I know who I am as an artist and I know what my sound is, but I wanted to know what I could do in order to take it to that next level. So the experiences I had last year of moving to California and traveling to places like Rome and Nicaragua where I met a lot of people just had a really big impact in my life.
Each of the bracelets I wear is from a long trip I've taken. One is from Nicaragua. One is from Nepal. One is from Guatemala. One is from Laos. They don't come off. I walk into a lot of very high-level boardrooms now, and I present to distinguished conferences, but these bracelets remind me of the places I've been and the people I've met.
Nicaragua is a World Bank and International Monetary Fund designated 'heavily indebted poor country,' with little legal ability to control its economic future: Everything is for sale. And once Nicaraguans decide to cash in and sell their houses or farms, they have to look far inland for anything affordable.
Nicaragua dealt with the problem of terrorism in exactly the right way. It followed international law and treaty obligations. It collected evidence, brought the evidence to the highest existing tribunal, the International Court of Justice, and received a verdict - which, of course, the U.S. dismissed with contempt.
This is a fight I have always wanted. I thought Felix Trinidad would be the defining fight of my life but it didn't turn out the way I wanted it to. Now I'm getting a chance for redemption. I must win this fight for me, the people of Nicaragua and everyone in the world who loves me because of the way I fight.
If something is right (or wrong) for us, it's right (or wrong) for others. It follows that if it's wrong for Cuba, Nicaragua, Haiti, and a long list of others to bomb Washington and New York, then it's wrong for Rumsfeld to bomb Afghanistan (on much flimsier pretexts), and he should be brought before war crimes trials.
There are going to be stories of very young kids that were brought to this country at a very young age who don't even speak Spanish that are going to be sent back to Nicaragua or some other place. And it's gonna feel weird and I understand that. The goal here is to have an immigration policy that works. And if you provide a path for people to enter this country illegally and if they stay here long enough and pay enough in taxes, well let them stay legally...why would anyone come in through the legal process?
Ronald Reagan goes around saying that Nicaragua is communist and that communism is a threat to Central America. Why doesn't he say that he's a big capitalist, and that capitalism has made a great mess of Central America? Why doesn't he talk about what capitalism has done? We don't know what communism is, but we sure know what capitalism has done for us!
I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.
If through no fault of his own the hero is crushed by a bulldozer in Act II, we are not impressed. Even though life is often like this-the absconding cashier on his way to Nicaragua is killed in a collision at the airport, the prominent statesman dies of a stroke in the midst of the negotiations he has spent years to bring about, the young lovers are drowned in a boating accident the day before their marriage-such events, the warp and woof of everyday life, seem irrelevant, meaningless. They are crude, undigested, unpurged bits of reality-to draw a metaphor from the late J. Edgar Hoover, they are 'raw files.' But it is the function of great art to purge and give meaning to human suffering, and so we expect that if the hero is indeed crushed by a bulldozer in Act II there will be some reason for it, and not just some reason but a good one, one which makes sense in terms of the hero's personality and action. In fact, we expect to be shown that he is in some way responsible for what happens to him.
That war [Bosnian war] in the early 1990s changed a lot for me. I never thought I would see, in Europe, a full-dress reprise of internment camps, the mass murder of civilians, the reinstiutution of torture and rape as acts of policy. And I didn't expect so many of my comrades to be indifferent - or even take the side of the fascists. It was a time when many people on the left were saying 'Don't intervene, we'll only make things worse' or, 'Don't intervene, it might destabilise the region. And I thought - destabilisation of fascist regimes is a good thing. Why should the left care about the stability of undemocratic regimes? Wasn't it a good thing to destabilise the regime of General Franco? It was a time when the left was mostly taking the conservative, status quo position - leave the Balkans alone, leave Milosevic alone, do nothing. And that kind of conservatism can easily mutate into actual support for the aggressors. Weimar-style conservatism can easily mutate into National Socialism. So you had people like Noam Chomsky's co-author Ed Herman go from saying 'Do nothing in the Balkans', to actually supporting Milosevic, the most reactionary force in the region. That's when I began to first find myself on the same side as the neocons. I was signing petitions in favour of action in Bosnia, and I would look down the list of names and I kept finding, there's Richard Perle. There's Paul Wolfowitz. That seemed interesting to me. These people were saying that we had to act. Before, I had avoided them like the plague, especially because of what they said about General Sharon and about Nicaragua. But nobody could say they were interested in oil in the Balkans, or in strategic needs, and the people who tried to say that - like Chomsky - looked ridiculous. So now I was interested.