Open US hegemonism in Latin America

"The Trump administration’s move is unprecedented."


Part I

The decision by the Trump administration to impose an economic embargo on Venezuela and recognizing a lackey, Juan Guiado, as president is unprecedented in the conduct of international relations. It does not only violate the United Nations Charter, international law, the Five Principles of Peace laid down in the Bandung Conference, but destroyed the very image of the US as the promoter of freedom and democracy. Ignoring that peace is an essential precondition to what it implants in Venezuela.

Some political analysts say the US is invoking the so-called “Monroe Doctrine,” a policy laid down by President James Monroe in 1823, and addressed to the European powers not to intervene in the politics of the Americas, otherwise it will be considered by the US as a hostile act against it. Notably, the threat of European intervention looms, for it was the height of colonialism. Today, there is no threat of any foreign power, except from the US that has unilaterally taken the cudgels as the protector of the countries in the Western Hemisphere.

Its role has become paradoxical for it readily exercises a free hand to invade, arm mercenaries, attack any country whose government and/or president refuses to kowtow to its policy. The situation in Venezuela is much worse than the Monroe Doctrine. The political turmoil there is one where President Nicolas Maduro is bracing his country against possible invasion by a country that has staunchly declared itself as the promoter of freedom and democracy. Demagoguery prevails that Trump feels he has the license to openly intervene, if necessary to invade, any country that does not conform to its yardstick of freedom and democracy.

The US has an impeccable record of interference in Latin America often by invasion, assassination, kidnapping of leaders oppose to its policy, sabotage, destruction of infrastructures, farmlands, downing of civilian airlines, and hiring mercenaries to fight a proxy guerrilla war. It has opened an Army School of the America, Panama (SOA) in 1946 where graduates learned about counter-insurgency, weapons training, psychological warfare, interrogation techniques, and sabotage. Many Filipino soldiers have been trained there often ending up overthrowing their own government.

Since 1946, the US participated in numerous acts denigrating the sovereignty and independence of states. It overthrew the government of Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954 to protect United Fruit Company, a large US banana plantation firm which reason why politically unstable countries in Central America gained the moniker of being called “banana republics.” In 1959, US marines invaded Haiti to prop up Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier.

In 1960, the US engineered the ouster of the President Jose Maria Velasco Ibarra of Ecuador for refusing to cut off diplomatic ties with Cuba. He was replaced by Carlos Julio Arosemana, a paid employee of the CIA. In 1960, US-exile mercenaries invaded Cuba known as the failed “Bay of Pigs invasion.” In 1962, it overthrew the government of João Goulart, a millionaire landowner. He was promptly replaced by General Castelo Branco who created the first death squad in Latin America.

In 1965, the US invaded the Dominican Republic. The US had to dispatch 20,000 troops to quell the resistance, killing 59 Americans and wounding 174. Beginning 1966, the US waged a relentless war in Guatemala to contain the spread of communism. The US installed a colonel, Enrique Peralta Azurdia to replace an elected politician. Untold reign of terror and atrocities then swept the country. By the 70s, it was estimated that more the 30,000 Guatemalans were slaughtered in the name of freedom and democracy.

In 1966, the US waged a war to hunt down leftist guerrillas that led to the capture of Ernesto “Che” Guevarra until the remaining insurgents were rooted out in Bolivia. The CIA, that same year, financed and assisted General José Alberto Medrano of El Salvador to organize the Orden paramilitary force. That resulted in an orgy of killings that made the country famous worldwide.

Turmoil continued in Bolivia that in 1971, the CIA backed a violent military coup to install General Hugo Banzer. He ruled for seven years as dictator. The US finally eliminated the Tupamaros guerrillas in Uruguay in 1972 but only to institute a military government.

In 1983, the first democratically elected President of Chile, Salvador Allende was killed in a coup that brought to power General Augusto Pinochet, a ruthless dictator who carried out a bloody cleansing in Chile, characterized by torture, killings and disappearance of thousands. In 1979, the US furiously fought to stave off defeat of its long time puppet by the Marxist Sandinistas. The defeat of the Somoza government was promptly replaced by their creation of so-called Contas US to oust the victorious government of Carlos Ortega.

The war against US hegemonism, imperialism and oppression continued to spread and was equally met with greater ferocity such that in 1980, the right-wing government of Roberto D’Aubuisson carried out a rampage of murder that did not even spare Archbishop Óscar Romero who was shot while celebrating mass. The combined forces of the CIA, US military advisers, and paramilitary units all in all slaughtered about 63,000 Salvadorians with the disoriented people ending up as notorious gangsters or joining in caravan to reach the US via Mexico.

In 1982, General Efraín Ríos Montt, after launching a coup d’ etat, declared a state of emergency and suspended the rule of law. Within the first six months, 2,600 Indians were massacred. US President Reagan called him a man “totally dedicated to democracy.” That same year, the US invaded Grenada. The invading U.S. troops were declared “heroes of the republic,” after killing socialist leader Maurice Bishop.

In 1989, US invaded Panama in the guise of wanting to secure the Canal. The US sent 10,000 troops to arrest President Manuel Noriega and indicted him for his alleged involvement in the drug cartel. He spends the rest of his life in US federal prison. The US finally got rid of Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 2004 claiming he was corrupt and withheld $500 million of humanitarian aid for Haiti. Some Haitians greeted the Americans with cheers of “Liberty!” while others marched past the U.S. embassy denouncing Yankee imperialism.

In 2008, Bolivian President Evo Morales expelled US ambassador Philip Goldberg, who was reassigned to the Philippines, accusing him of fomenting the civil unrest that “threatens the unity of the nation, the same reason that antagonized President Duterte.

Finally, in 2013, US Secretary of State John Kerry declared that “the era of the Monroe Doctrine is over.” But rightly after the exiting of the Obama administration, President Donald Trump pursued with much greater vigour the same jingoistic policy under the banner of “America first.” Trump revived hegemonism that requires the placing of US military outpost in every Latin American state to ensure that states remain in line to US economic interest which national security advisor John Bolton now admits is all about Venezuela oil, and not about democracy.

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Topics: Rod Kapunan , US hegemonism , Latin America , Venezuela
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