Capitalism For The Campesino

Many thanks to Prof. Knippenberg of No Left Turns, who emailed me this, rightly knowing I'd eat it up. I didn't intend to make this popes & presidents on Latin America day at W&W, but I'll run with it. W. gave a preview of his Latin America tour in a speech before something called the Hispanic Chamber. Where does Chavezism come from?
amid the progress we also see terrible want. Nearly one out of four people in Latin America lives on less than $2 a day. Many children never finish grade school; many mothers never see a doctor. In an age of growing prosperity and abundance, this is a scandal -- and it's a challenge. The fact is that tens of millions of our brothers and sisters to the south have seen little improvement in their daily lives. And this has led some to question the value of democracy.
His answer? Debt relief, trade, etc., but especially key in Latin America--fighting corruption. One example of the fruits of the so-called Millennium Challenge Account, which rewards nations that "govern justly."
A few years ago, we funded a project to help a town in Paraguay. We set up a website that makes all local government transactions public, from budget spending to employee salaries. The purpose was to help the people of Villarrica improve their local governance through greater transparency. It was a small gesture at first. But when they brought transparency into their government, they discovered that some government employees had used fake receipts to embezzle thousands of dollars from the city government. The mayor informed the public, and the employees who had stolen the money were tried and convicted, and they paid it back. For the people of Paraguay, this was an historic achievement. The local government had called its own officials to account at a public and transparent trial.
The United States can help bring trust to their governments by instilling transparency in our neighborhood. It didn't take much of a gesture, but it had a profound impact.
And here's the RC2 magnet line:
social justice requires economies that make it possible for workers to provide for their families and to rise in society. For too long and in too many places, opportunity in Latin America has been determined by the accident of birth rather than by the application of talents and initiative. In his many writings, Pope John Paul II spoke eloquently about creating systems that respect the dignity of work and the right to private initiative. Latin America needs capitalism for the campesino, a true capitalism that allows people who start from nothing to rise as far as their skills and their hard work can take them. So the United States is helping these nations build growing economies that are open to the world, economies that will provide opportunity to their people.
Read, read! As Prof. K. says, the speech deserves more attention. Is there anyone in public life (including many, many bishops I say sorrowfully) who has paid more attention to Catholic social teaching and its implications than W?

Update: find Prof. K's own post & the WSJ on the matter here.