By Rainer Shea – Oct 19, 2021
Now that U.S. imperialism has not just entered into a tailspin of decline in geopolitical influence, but suffered a series of defeats that have harmed its international support amid the great-power competition with China, it’s become more willing to resort to drastic measures than ever. This goes beyond Washington’s instigations of nuclear tensions with Russia and China, which have produced risks of atomic war that surpassthose of any point during the 20th century. Desperate and increasingly cornered, the imperialists are applying a model for manufactured crises across growing swaths of the planet, with Latin America becoming more of a target all the time.
Instrumental to this scorched-earth destruction campaign is the narrative that anti-imperialist countries are oppressive, and in urgent need of having their state apparatuses dismantled. “The OAS/State Dept have people dedicated to identifying anything that could be manipulated into evidence of antisemitism, homophobia, etc. on a structural level in Cuba, Nicaragua & Venezuela and since they can’t locate anything, they have to invent other forms of discrimination,” observes the Latin American commentator Camila Press. “Among them now, threats to “religious freedom” of Catholics in Nicaragua. Imagine what their idea board looks like right now. Those strategy meetings must be bleak. Imagine coming out of a three hour team meeting and coming up with no ideas for new ways to attack Latin American governments. Not saying their strategies and campaigns of subversion and counterrevolution are no longer a threat- on the contrary. With these failures, they’ll adopt a more dangerous and extreme approach, like increasing reliance on their transnational crime and mercenary network operations.”
What does this approach mean for the people in the targeted countries? An ominous answer can be found in Ethiopia, where millions are starving due to the civil war that Washington has manufactured through its proxy terrorist group the TPLF. The U.S. meddling, which consists both of manufacturing anti-government atrocity stories to exacerbate the ethnic tensions and of aiding the extremists, is working with Washington’s sanctions to exacerbate the humanitarian crisis. Washington’s goal is to render Ethiopia and Eritrea stateless so it can further Balkanize the region, with the motive behind this campaign of aggression being to score a geopolitical point against China; Washington would rather sow starvation and chaos in these countries, and in horn of Africa at large, than let these countries adopt China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
Washington is doing the same to Myanmar, whose military regime has only received so much human rights scrutiny from the Western media because it’s pursuing BRI projects. The imperialists are instigating civil conflict in Myanmar with an Africa-esque goal of destabilization, so much that anti-imperialist commentators have compared this to the civil war that Washington started in Libya with its 2011 invasion of the country. As NATO and its propagandists grow concerned that the family of the anti-imperialist Gaddafi will soon come back to power in Libya, the imperialists seek to spread their model of ruin, seeing this as the only way to stave off a new wave of revolutions in the exploited world.
In Asia, they’re doing this by waging war against not just Myanmar, but against Cambodia in the form of sanctions and against Thailand in the form of funding for color revolution tactics. Hong Kong and Taiwan are also targets for destabilization, but they’re relatively out of reach. And Thailand, along with the empire’s other big Eurasian color revolution targets Russia and Belarus, still haven’t been subdued. So Washington is ever more directing these tactics against its “backyard” of Latin America, which it’s better able to cause damage towards.
As U.S. hegemony wanes, the empire is retreating into its own hemisphere. But this can’t stop an ever-growing number of Latin American countries from strengthening their ties to China, because working with China is increasingly in the interest of Latin America. So Washington is seeking to do to these countries what it’s already done to the horn of Africa.
In Bolivia, the imperialists are working towards this by activating their proxies to committ terrorism, theft, and cultural easure. At least they’ve succeeded at doing these things within the prominent La Paz coca market ADEPCOCA, where armed right-wing forces recently seized control of the local government, displaced the existing coca growers, and took down the area’s indigenous wiphala flag. As former ADEPCOCA president Elena Flores has assessed, “The Bolivian opposition has lost everything, they lost the elections last year, but if they can seize ADEPCOCA then they obtain an important base of social and economic power, our institution has 40,000 members who sell their coca through here. They want to neutralize this bastion of struggle and turn it into a base from which to attack the government. They claim that the government was getting involved in our internal affairs, but that’s false, all they’ve done is protect the building from violence.”
In Venezuela, they’re seeking to replicate this by exploiting and feeding into the conflict between the Chavista government and the mafia wing of the FARC guerrillas. These guerrillas aren’t U.S. proxies per se; they also operate in the U.S. neo-colony of Colombia, and some of their outposts have existed within Venezuela since a generation prior to Chavismo. But Washington is using this Colombia-Venezuela border war as a foothold for exacerbating Venezuela’s instability. Through sanctions on Venezuela that have been tightened during the pandemic, and through biased reports from the U.S.-tied Human Rights Watch about Venezuelan abuses in the anti-guerrilla effort, the imperialists are fanning the flames of violence.
HRW’s recent portrayals of the situation have been biased in that they’ve left out the context in which Maduro has carried out his border military interventio; one where the U.S. and Colombia have been fueling narco-criminal forces to violate Venezuela’s sovereignty, while outright plotting false flags to justify imperialist intervention. Like in Ethiopia, they’re able to point to genuine mistakes by the targeted government, then exaggerate them and use them as justification for their destabilization agenda.
The imperialists are crafty; they exploit any contradictions they can find within their enemies. As Cuban intelligence chief Fabián Escalante has observed:
The internal counterrevolution is reorganizing its forces and is on the offensive…lies and half-truths, swarming around via social media, are disparaging government leaders, especially Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel. Accusations center on “failing to improve living conditions in deprived, vulnerable urban districts…a sector of the Cuban community, manipulated by fundamentalist congresspersons Marco Rubio, María Elvira Salazar, and their acolytes, are readying their weapons, coordinating and paying local peons….[they are] in close touch with counterparts on the island and will assist in creating an environment of social destabilization…the U.S. Agency for International Development is offering up to $2 million for new democracy-promotion programs in Cuba. USAID’s goals are to advance the effectiveness of independent civil society groups… [and to] develop broader coalitions to expand civil society’s impact…the enemy of humanity, the U.S. government…is preparing to deliver the final blow to the Revolution.
However absurd their attempts to exaggerate the contradictions are—as Camila said, U.S. Latin America narrative managers can’t find much actual systemic oppression within the regime change targets—they’re capable of carrying out a shadow war. Since AFRICOM’s founding in 2007, Washington has waged war on Africa by largely pretending like no such war is taking place, keeping the U.S. public in the dark on the U.S. meddling and propagandized into war fever when it’s come to interventions like the 2011 Libya bombings.
Such is the approach Washington is taking for Latin America. Americans are unaware that the U.S. funded a violent 2018 coup in Nicaragua that’s since destabilized the country. Or that this July’s assassination of Haiti’s president was an operation by Washington’s Colombian proxies to further plunge the country into chaos for the purposes of preemptive counterrevolution. Or that this year’s protests in Cuba were led by U.S.-financed mercenaries, while desperate Cubans were paid to deliberately sabotage supply chains. Or that Peru’s politics have been at their most unstable in decades during the last five years due to Washington’s instigation of right-wing power grabs like last year’s parliamentary coup. Or that the catastrophic nightmare of Bolsonaro’s presidency was made possible by a 2016 Obama administration coup within Brazil that paved the way for the far right to win in the 2018 election—which itself was fraught with strategic pro-Bolsonaro disinformation that could only have been orchestrated by the CIA.
During Brazil’s election next year, Latin America could undergo its biggest destabilizing event yet. Taking example from Trump’s Capitol Hill riot, Bolsonaro is preemptively claiming the election to be rigged and mobilizing his supporters towards acts of reactionary terror. His end goal is a military coup, as indicated by all the times he’s glorified Brazil’s era of military dictatorship and filled his cabinet with military personnel. Should Brazil have its own January 6th, Washington will get what it wants even if Bolsonaro is forced out: a wave of chaos throughout the region’s largest country, one which could allow those crime networks and mercenaries to inflict great harm going into the leftist administration that will likely follow Bolsonaro’s. Then Brazil, already in the throes of one of the world’s worst Covid waves, devastated by the Amazon fires due to Bolsonaro’s negligence, and suffering under Bolsonaro’s extreme neoliberal shock policies, may be turned into one big Ethiopia.
Featured image: 2019 photo from Port-au-Prince, Haiti