The attitude of the US towards Latin peoples has been one of domination, imposition and imperialism. The core of this policy is in the American ideology itself, based on the Monroe Doctrine of the 19th Century, which, enunciating an “America for Americans”, promoted the American expansion towards other lands of the New World. Specifically in South America, external interference in national policies became even more evident with the advent of the military dictatorships of the last century, which, with the shallow excuse of avoiding a “communist threat”, promoted long decades of misery and persecution whose only end had been to preserve the subjugation of those countries to Washington’s commandments during the Cold War.
The process of redemocratization in Latin America was a flawed and vulnerable one. The transition of power witnessed by the exchange of the Armed Forces for civilian politicians represented nothing but the very interests of the same groups that had financed and supported the military’s takeover. In fact, when the American objectives bequeathed to the military were already achieved, they authorized the transition of power, pacifying national policies with the capitulation of the left, which abandoned the armed struggle in favor of the democratic pact.
Since then, outside interference in Latin America has been triggered by the cooptation of parliamentary factions, feeding gigantic networks of corruption that “fight each other” publicly, when, truly, they work for the interests of the same foreign power. This is the case of the reactionary parties and of the groups from the new left – concerned with the “identitarian” agenda of liberalism and omitted in relation to social problems and national sovereignty.
While the theater of public confrontation of these groups is functioning, the American foreign occupation works perfectly, without major challenges and threats. However, any deviation from this reality is understood as an affront and gives room for the resurgence of Washington’s interference. The most recent cases corroborating this fact are the failed attempted coup against the legitimate Bolivarian government in Caracas and the successful coup d’état carried out against Bolivian President Morales, both in the past year.
In general, American attacks on independent peoples of the South have intensified in recent years. This, most likely, is due to the fact that the period before the current one was marked by the growth of the political left, which, although subordinated to the liberal hegemony, acted with an agenda reasonably linked to social struggles, delaying, even if very little, the neoliberal plans. Now, these same countries are facing the extraordinary advance of reactionary rights, with a greater emphasis on Brazil.
A member of the BRICS, Brazil, with all its potential to achieve prestigious status in international order, has been suffering the worst period in its recent history. The rise of Bolsonaro brings with it the worst in the country: the growth of the harmful influence of neo-Pentecostal groups – whose greatest commitment is to the interests of Washington and Tel Aviv; the paramilitary armed militias that control organized crime in the poorest regions of the country, truly acting as a mafia and; the business sector as a whole, with enormous progress in dismantling labor laws and permitting agribusiness, with the legalization of pesticides and the criminal burning of native forests for the formation of pastures for livestock. Brazil is going through one of the worst deindustrialization processes ever witnessed in history.
Argentina recently completed this cycle of reactionary ascension and is now witnessing a return of the “soft left”, with the return of the Kirchner Party. The negative legacy of Fenández. Macri’s will not be wiped out so quickly and the left now in power does not seem committed to the complete break with external interests, but to the perpetuation of the liberal-parliamentary cycle.
The most striking cases, however, are the aforementioned examples of Venezuela and Bolivia, countries victimized by American imperialism. Fundamentally, one must realize how both cases reveal real occurrences of foreign invasion, even if camouflaged with a democratic appearance. Venezuela perceived the opposition’s articulations as a true case of war and managed to gain control over the situation: activated the Bolivarian National Guard, intensified security policies and ignored internal and external opposition pressure. As a result, Maduro remains in power and the coup has become an international joke. On the other hand, Morales did not have the same perspicacity and gave way too much to the opposition, falling and being forced to leave the country and hand it over to the coup d’état.
In Chile, recent political unrest is having a positive effect. The claims against neoliberal Piñera, carried out through violent protests that have already given rise to the State of Emergency, are successful and little by little the government is forced to yield to popular pressure.
Currently, the panorama of South America is terrible. With the exception of Venezuela, which is in an undeniable crisis, all countries are, in one way or another, hostages to American interests, with some under governments that make this reality more explicit – like Brazil – and others under more camouflaged regimes. There is no doubt about the fundamental point that American imperialism has never been as aggressive in South America as it has been in recent years. The reason is simple: in the face of progress in the formation of a multipolar world, the geopolitical north is becoming increasingly reactive.
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This article was originally published on InfoBrics.
Lucas Leiroz de Almeida is a research fellow in International Law at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.