Chávez, Castro, Trump?

Storme Jones

A professor at the University of Oklahoma likened President Donald Trump to both a Latin American dictator and communist, before a crowd of students and faculty Thursday.

At the Forum on Democracy, Professor Alan McPherson, Director of OU’s Center for the Americas, told the audience Trump’s charismatic style and efforts to usurp the press are similar to tactics used by former Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and Cuba’s former President Fidel Castro.

“They would do hour long speeches, they would take a whole day on the media,” McPherson said. “It was impossible to talk about anyone else. In many ways it would detract from the things that were happening behind the scenes.”

The in Latin American studies professor said it’s unlike anything the United States has seen before.

“I don’t think it’s an over reaction. I don’t think we would have had this forum in George W. Bush’s administration or his father’s administration, or Reagan’s,” He said.

The forum featured a dozen professors with lectures on topics from “checks and balances: robust or fragile” to “attacks on public schools as attacks on democracy. Each speaker took issue with a different action or stance taken by the Trump administration.

During the time for student comments, one student said he thought the event was partisan and a scare tactic by liberal professors. Suzette Grillot, Dean of the College of International Studies, say despite the critical look at the Trump administration, the event was meant to bring people together.

“It’s not a partisan discussion. It’s not about party politics, we are not coming as republicans or democrats or members of a political party,” Grillot said. “But as concerned citizens about some of the democratic institutions that are under attack.”