US policy in recent Latin American events

Anonyme, Mercredi, Mai 1, 2002 - 12:31

James D. Cockcroft

US Latin Americanist James D. Cockcroft responds here to two questions on US foreign policy dealing with recent events in Latin America asked him by María Lorente of the Latin American bureau of Agence France Presse in Montevideo, Uruguay.

Dr. Cockcroft is a three-time Fulbright Scholar and author of LATIN AMERICA: HISTORY, POLITICS, AND U.S. POLICY (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/International Thomson Publishing, Second edition, 1998; Spanish-language ed. siglo veintiuno editores, Mexico City, 2001); MEXICO'S HOPE: AN ENCOUNTER WITH POLITICS AND HISTORY (NY: Monthly Review Press, 1999; Spanish-language ed. siglo veintiuno editores, Mexico City, 2001); and SALVADOR ALLENDE CHILE'S VOICE OF DEMOCRACY (Assisted by Jane Carolina Canning, Melbourne: Ocean Press, 2000).

Question 1: How would you define the US role in recent events in Latin America?
Cockcroft: Let's start with the case of Venezuela, where the answer to your question is self-evident, since the United States always intervenes to topple reformist governments in Latin America, having failed only once since 1938: in revolutionary Cuba. In Venezuela, the US role continues to be an interventionist one of coup preparation along two parallel tracks, a hard and soft one, just as it had been in Allende's Chile 30 years earlier. During the second week of April, Venezuela's minority of military plotters and their big business allies learned that their coup plot had been discovered. They swiftly implemented their plan, apparently using trained sharpshooters to gun down demonstrators, an attack they and the opposition-controlled mass media blamed on President Chávez. According to a former U.S. National Security Agency officer and other sources, the CIA's Special Operations Group worked closely with Venezuela's coup organizers. The U.S. military's Special Operations psychological warfare PSYOPs helped prepare the mass media lies and half-truths used to justify the coup. The U.S. Navy, conducting exercises in the Caribbean, delivered communications jamming support and signals intelligence. The state tv channel's signal was cut just as President Chávez had begun to address the nation. The coup leaders then took the president prisoner, dissolved all democratic institutions, and ruthlessly hunted down other elected officials and supporters of the president. Spain had already shipped the special presidential honor band that the pretender Pedro Carmona wore at his well-staged criminal inauguration but forgot to take with him when he later fled. In the initial hours after the coup, the Pentagon boasted of its having provided military and intelligence support. The U.S. government's National Endowment for Democracy (NEA) had already given nearly a million dollars to right-wing opposition forces in Venezuela. Two U.S. military officers were present at the fort where the kidnapped Venezuelan president was taken; a private U.S.-registered airplane was on the Caribbean island of La Orchila to spirit him out of the country. In the first test of the infamous anti-Cuba Democratic Clause approved by the OAS on September 12, 2001, the US sided with a military coup against a constitutional regime that, unlike the US president installed by a Supreme Court coup, had received overwhelming majority votes in national elections of up to 80 percent. In the rest of Latin America, the US role is also one of stepped-up military, CIA, and NEA interventionism in order to roll back mass struggles for democratic, agrarian, and other reforms. Why? So that the Free Trade Area of the Americas can be more swiftly and easily implemented for the benefit of mainly US but also Canadian and other transnational corporations and banks. Argentina is a case in point, where the US and the IMF are forcing their "model student" of the past twenty years to continue its economic collapse that they initially did so much to cause. This way they can sabotage the Mercosur and further threaten the Labor Party of Brazil, heavily favored to win this year's presidential election. The peoples of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Uruguay, along with Central Americans and Mexicans, are also threatened by these US policies. The US role is both economic and military, as in the cases of Plan Colombia, the Andean Initiative, and Plan Puebla Panama, all of which are militarily integrated with US strategies in Venezuela and the Caribbean Basin. The US has created new military bases in Ecuador and Aruba and is planning additional ones in Brazil, Peru, and Argentina. It has stationed active combat troops in Colombia, where it is already engaged in a widening war. As its own documents and spokespeople testify, the US government has multiple aims: to crush indigenous insurgencies and social movements in the name of "combating terrorism"; to secure US oil, gas, and energy supplies; to create pools of cheap, often forcibly displaced Indian labor for US investors; and to gain control over one of the world's potentially most profitable areas of biodiverstity and still only partially tapped subsurface mineral wealth.

Question 2: Has this role affected Inter-American (Latin American) relations and past agreements between these countries?
Cockcroft: Of course. The US has repeatedly violated major international agreements and treaties, including the OAS Democratic Clause the US government itself sponsored as one more tool in its 43-year-old campaign to topple the Cuban Revolution. The US role in recent Latin American events has undermined relations with the peoples and states of Latin America and the world. Argentina's illegitimate president rushed to condemn the Venezuelan coup---could he be next to face a military coup? Even the U.S. puppet president in Mexico did not parrot the US endorsement of the short-lived coup in Venezuela, although he refused to call for the return to power of the legitimate Venezuelan government, thus violating his own embrace of the Democratic Clause as well as Mexico's historic foreign policy in defense of popularly elected leaders and revolutions. Most of Latin America's presidents, including Mexico's, have been cooperating with US policies and consequently winning favor in Washington while losing support in their home countries among the masses and most of the middle classes. Uruguay's and Mexico's presidents recently bowed to US pressure and sponsored a mild rebuke of Cuba by the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, leading to Cuba's denunciation of the two-faced mendacious policies of both presidents and to Uruguay's recall of its ambassador from Havana. Mexico's president had previously bowed to US pressure leading up to the UN Conference on Development in Monterrey in March by asking Fidel Castro to refrain from verbally attacking George Bush or even staying in Monterrey while Bush was there. The Mexican president denies all this, even after Castro has made public an irrefutable audiotape of the Mexican president's asking him to do exactly that. Now the Mexican Congress is calling for a full investigation of the president's mendacious and subservient foreign policy. So yes, US policies, all in the name of a fallacious democracy and a hypocritical "anti-terrorism," have affected negatively inter-American relations and the US government's own most trusted allies in the region, even as US imperialist policies have been doing in the name of "anti-terrorism" in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. The US government, the only state ever to be tried and convicted of terrorism by the World Court, is losing credibility, trust, and respect on a global basis.

Dossier G20
  Nous vous offrons plusieurs reportages indépendants et témoignages...

Très beau dessin: des oiseaux s'unissent pour couper une cloture de métal, sur fonds bleauté de la ville de Toronto.
Liste des activités lors de ce
« contre-sommet » à Toronto

Vous pouvez aussi visiter ces médias alternatifs anglophones...

Centre des médias Alternatifs Toronto

Media Co-op Toronto

Toronto Community Mobilization
(en Anglais)

CMAQ: Vie associative

Collectif à Québec: n'existe plus.

Impliquez-vous !


Ceci est un média alternatif de publication ouverte. Le collectif CMAQ, qui gère la validation des contributions sur le Indymedia-Québec, n'endosse aucunement les propos et ne juge pas de la véracité des informations. Ce sont les commentaires des Internautes, comme vous, qui servent à évaluer la qualité de l'information. Nous avons néanmoins une Politique éditoriale , qui essentiellement demande que les contributions portent sur une question d'émancipation et ne proviennent pas de médias commerciaux.

This is an alternative media using open publishing. The CMAQ collective, who validates the posts submitted on the Indymedia-Quebec, does not endorse in any way the opinions and statements and does not judge if the information is correct or true. The quality of the information is evaluated by the comments from Internet surfers, like yourself. We nonetheless have an Editorial Policy , which essentially requires that posts be related to questions of emancipation and does not come from a commercial media.