Friday, April 08, 2005

Maine and Chile

I'd never heard of John O'Leary, a former mayor of my new hometown (Portland, Maine) and former US Ambassador to Chile, until I read this week in the local paper that he'd died. Sounded like a decent guy.

But then I just saw that Marc Cooper sings his praises:
Not only was John O’Leary a warm and personable man, but he did everything he could to rectify the American record, the American presence in Chile. He opened his Embassy to all, regardless of their political stripe. And after General Pinochet’s arrest in 1998, Ambassador O’Leary took aggressive measures to expose archives of U.S. documents on Chile to public scrutiny. As American Ambassador he also helped support the opening of new investigations into the deaths of three Americans, including Charlie Horman, the subject of the classic Costa-Gavras film, Missing. For international human rights activists working to clarify the record of the Pinochet era, Ambassador O’Leary was a reliable and stalwart ally.

...He was, in short, the best face that America could put forward to the world. Indeed, his approach, his compassion, and his sensibilities are all quite the opposite of the American diplomacy we see today.

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