Saturday, August 13, 2005


When he first ran for president, Bush talked a lot about Latin America and how we had to strengthen our relations with our southern neighbors. Then September 11 happened and Latin America was quickly forgotten.

For once in its modern history, the U.S. was ignoring it. The Monroe doctrine was replaced by the Get-The-Damn-Towel-Heads doctrine.

And Latin America has, not surprisingly, flourished - voices of opposition to U.S. policy have been heard more strongly than at any time since the 1960s, the U.S. has diminished its meddling with political development and interestingly enough we haven't heard a lot of economic disaster stories. Could it be that the removal of some of the U.S.'s grubby fingers from the many South American pies is just what that continent needed? couldn't be - clearly the U.S. has done so well with its imperial sphere of influence. Nicaragua, El Salvador, Grenada, Panama, Haiti - and that's just in my lifetime. (If you're interested in a more detailed look at U.S. interventions in Latin America - check this page out.)

Now, Chavez down in Venezuela is stepping up his anti-U.S. rhetoric. Unlike Cuba, which is a small, insignificant island in terms of resources, Venezuela is the fourth largest oil supplier to the U.S. and its geographic proximity means that its oil is highly prized. Chavez actually has economic clout, and the failure to depose him in 2002 (probably because U.S. resources were understandably focused on Afghanistan and it couldn't spare enough to properly get rid of him) has meant that he has now been in office long enough that an assassination plot or coup attempt engineered by the U.S. would be too transparent and rile up the population, possibly leading to civil war, thus endangering the precious oil supply. Nevertheless, I wouldn't put it past the U.S. to try some shenanigans, although as long as we're occupied in Iraq and Afghanistan, they will no doubt be somewhat muted.

A little attention is finally being paid to Venezuela after Chavez made the bold move of accusing DEA officials of spying (no doubt true) and said that cooperation with the DEA would be suspended. In retaliation, the U.S. revoked the visas of six Venezuelan military officers who had been involved in cooperative efforts with the DEA. Now, Venezuela is contemplating denying visas to all U.S. citizens, according to the Venezuelan vice president.

I hope that Chavez manages to hold out against the U.S. and win re-election. He's the freshest breath of air to come through Latin America in a long time and epitomizes the legacy of Che Guevara. It's time for the U.S. to let Latin America develop as it wants and allow the socialism that has been lying in the wings waiting for its opportunity to finally take hold. In the fear over the spread of Communism, the U.S. perfected its obscene policies of intervention in Latin America, never realizing that the 'Communism' the Latin Americans were fighting for was a vastly different 'Communism' than existed elsewhere in the world, and unique to Latin America.

By forcibly replacing people like Allende with people like Pinochet, the U.S. helped stall the development of the region and left it economically backwards and subservient to the U.S.-imposed economic vision encapsulated by the IMF. Maybe finally the countries of Latin America will have a chance to do what is best for them - not what is best for U.S. interests.


Blogger Jaron aka Bananatree said...

Well, the DEA spent 18 months spying on the leader of the Canadian Marijuana party. Then bullied the Vancouver police department into arresting him on trumped up charges.

Eventhough he is a respected man, who pays taxes on all of his income from the sale of Marijuana seeds.

3:07 PM  

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