"Proud member of Amnesty International, Anglican ex-seminarian, a liberation theology sympathizer, and fan of the music of Pablo Milanés, Nacha Guevara and Mercedes Sosa, the new British Secretary of State for Latin America, Chris Bryant (47), is not your typical politican." Thus begins EFE's profile of Britain's point person for Latin American diplomacy.
And the article goes on to say that the hermano speaks fluent Spanish as a result of spending at least part of his seminarian days on the continent where he lived with a community of Columban Fathers in Comas, Peru, met liberation theologian Gustavo Gutiérrez, studied theology at the Instituto Superior de Estudios Evangélicos Teológicos in Buenos Aires, and experienced his share of human rights atrocities committed by the Pinochet regime in Chile. It was the experience of being struck by tear gas grenades ("Made in Britain") while attending the funeral of a young victim of the Chilean military that led Bryant to join Amnesty International and change his party identification from Tory to Labor and leave the religious life for a political career.
Bryant describes Latin America as a "sleeping giant" that has both great potential and great problems, not the least of which is its rampant economic inequality, as well as ongoing human rights issues in some countries. Bryant also indicated his interest in dealing with problems of climate change, particularly with Brazil and Mexico, and with drug trafficking.
This is a man who "gets it" and it would be my fondest hope that maybe, in the spirit of international dialogue, he could stop by Washington and share some of his experience and perspective with Mrs. Clinton.