Jason Horowitz explores Tim Kaine’s time in Honduras as a “spiritual and political awakening” for the New York Times. VP-candidate Kaine went to Honduras in September 1980. That is a little more than one year after the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua and six months after the murder of Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero. It is also a few months before the US Churchwomen were murdered in El Salvador and the baton passed from Jimmy Carter to Ronald Reagan in the United States.
Over his nine months in Central America, Kaine would meet meet Jesuits and Catholics who had dedicated their lives to working with the poor under the most dangerous of circumstances. Working with the poor and living out a Jesuit motto of “men and women for others” could get you killed as some right-wing officials in the region and the United States understood those principles as espousing communism.
I would have liked the author to probe more deeply into hope this spiritual and political awakening has shaped Kaine’s approach to policy, in particular US foreign policy (towards Latin America). At a young age, Mr. Kaine learned about some of the unseemly behavior of the US and its allies in the fight against communism. While the experience must have clearly influenced Mr. Kaine’s political approach towards the poor and the downtrodden, as well as his understanding of the United States’ role in the world, those issues are really left unaddressed in the article. Horowitz should have included some insights from Tom Long.