Obama’s nomination to head USAID’s programs in Latin America is Mark Feierstein, who, according to the Andean Information Network, is a pollster who works for right-wing political candidates in Latin America, including ones who’ve presided over massacres:
Feierstein, of the firm Greenberg, Quinlan and Rosner, served as a political adviser to former Bolivian president Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada during his 2002 Presidential campaign. Sánchez de Lozada resigned and fled to Chevy Chase, Maryland in 2003 to escape prosecution for the massacre of 60 protesters by troops operating under his orders. Last year Feierstein and his colleagues again conducted polling in Bolivia to assist the campaign of right wing candidate Manfred Reyes Villa, who lost by a landslide to President Evo Morales. The appointment of the political pollster has increased apprehension in the region that aid programs will continue to be used to support U.S.-favored political actors within the region’s democracies.
The AIN takes the eminently reasonable position that if Obama wants Latin Americans to see USAID as something more than a shady political operation, he should not appoint shady political operatives to run it.
(Disclaimer: I don’t know much about the AIN, only that I heard an excellent interview with head Kathryn Ledebur on the Just the Facts podcast, and she impressed me very much as a thoughtful person who knows what’s up.)