Ailing Caribbean ‘freedom fighter’ journalist rips ‘Trumpism’

Don Rojas with cane, and fellow ‘freedom fighters’ at the fund raising event in Brooklyn.
Photo by Leonard Mckenzie

Even as he battles for this life with bone cancer, an ailing, prominent Caribbean-born journalist in the United States, renowned as a “freedom fighter”, has strongly condemned the policies of US President Donald J. Trump that are often referred to as “Trumpism.”

In addressing a fundraiser in his honor, at the House of Lord Church, downtown Brooklyn, to help offset gigantic medical bills, Vincentian-born Don Rojas, press secretary for slain Grenadian Prime Minister, Maurice Bishop, said there is “a Titanic struggle between those who are ready to boldly step into the future, to shape human society into one where truly democratic principles and practices prevail and those, here in the Western Hemisphere, who have been duped by the lies and tricks of a toxic social disease we call ‘Trumpism,’ a political and cultural phenomenon rooted in a sordid mix of white supremacist ideologies, manufactured lies, fake news and corrupt opportunism.”

Rojas, the director of communications and international relations for the New York-based black group, Institute of the Black World 21st Century (IBW), said “this phenomenon is bent on cowardly turning back the hands of time to ‘Make America Great Again’ through the exercise of wanton dictatorial control over all the organs of the capitalist state.”

“Make America Great Again” was Trump’s campaign slogan.

“Trump’s fixation with reversing whatever legacy President Barack Obama left a couple years ago borders on the pathological and is profoundly racist,” added Rojas, the former senior advisor for strategic communications to Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies (UWI).

Rojas – who developed, launched and managed UWI-TV, the university’s cable TV and Internet channel, just before his affliction with cancer – said that while patrons support his own fight against the deadly disease, “there is a much more dangerous social cancer that needs our urgent collective attention.”

“This social cancer of Trumpism has metastasized and has infected every organ of the American body politic,” he said. “Trumpism is the great white supremacy experiment of the 21st Century and its basic playbook is the warped ideology of fascism as was attempted in the 20th Century by Hitler in Germany, Mussolini in France, Franco in Spain, Batista in Cuba and other so-called ‘strong men.’

“I’m not trying to be alarmist, folks, but fascism is once again on the march not only in Europe but also throughout the Americas – from Washington, D.C. to Brazil, to Chile, to Argentina and other Latin countries – and making serious inroads into respectable institutions inside the U.S.A.,” he warned.

Rojas said that, from the very beginning of America, “white supremacy provided the ideological underpinnings for slavery,” stating that the rallying slogans of today’s fascist right-wing like, ‘Make America Great Again’ and ‘America First’, are premised on hatred for the other, especially for black, brown and Jewish people.”

“I pledge to you all this evening to be by your side as, together, we fight the inter-related social cancers of Trumpism, globalized white supremacy, neo-liberalism and austerity forced onto the backs of working people everywhere,” he said. “I may not always be on the frontlines with you in the future, but I’ll always be there behind the scenes offering my unqualified support, as I continue to fight my own battle against cancer.

“My conscience dictates that I dig deep down and tap into some of that radical energy that still resides in my soul and find a militant voice to say to Trump, Bolton, Pompeo and the other hawks: Quit banging the drums of war in the Caribbean and Latin America; stop with the bellicose threats towards Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua; hands off the Cuban Revolution,” added Rojas referring to John Bolton, Trump’s new national security advisor, and Michael Pompeo, the US Secretary of State.

In addition, Rojas called on the political leaders of the Caribbean to reject any revival of the Monroe Doctrine, named after former US President James Monroe.

The doctrine was a United States policy of opposing European colonialism in the Americas, beginning in 1823. It stated that further efforts by European countries to take control of any independent state in North or South America would be characterized as “the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition toward the United States.”

In the same breath, the doctrine, issued on Dec. 2, 1823, pointed out that the US would recognize and not interfere with extant European colonies nor meddle in the internal concerns of European nations.

At that time, most Latin American colonies of Spain and Portugal had achieved, or were at the point of obtaining, independence from the Portuguese and Spanish Empires.

Rojas, therefore, urged Caribbean leaders “to defend the sacred principle of self-determination and to oppose any and all attempts by Trump and his cohorts to interfere in the domestic affairs of our sovereign states.

“Don’t be bamboozled into accepting the false promises of Trumpism,” he declared. “Stand firm and defend the Caribbean region’s right to be recognized and treated as a ‘Zone of Peace.’”

“Sad to say, but we are living in a dark and scary moment,” Rojas warned. “Despairing as it may be, we do not have the luxury of simply battening down the hatches and riding out Hurricane Trump. These troubled times call for us to be proactive, to resist and to push back against the onslaught of white supremacy in all its odious manifestations.”

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