By Rainer Shea – Mar 16, 2021
Several generations ago, while the Washington imperialists were embroiled in the Cold War and desperate to crush the workers democracies of the East, they found the forces of class struggle and national liberation stirring within Latin America-their “own backyard,” as they like to call it. The prospect of also losing this territory to communism terrified and enraged them to no end. So through dozens of coups, assassinations, and military interventions, they crushed democracy throughout most of the region, imposing in its place some of the most horrific dictatorships in history while depriving the region’s people of being able to develop towards socialism.
Under Pinochet and the other U.S. puppets who ruled over Latin America during the 20th century, tens of thousands were imprisoned, tortured, or killed for standing up to the empire. From the 1970s onward, the imperialists subjected Latin America to brutal economic shock tactics of austerity and privatization, making way for the exporting of neoliberalism to the entire rest of the capitalist world. Throughout the last half-century, as those in Latin America’s underclass have suffered deteriorating living conditions to maintain the profits of their oppressors to the north, the tyrannies that Washington imposed upon their societies have only been partially undone. The imperialists have allowed most of Latin America’s people to vote again out of momentary mercy. Washington and its partnered governments in the region remain on the watch for new uprisings, ready to enact further bloodshed and bring back the era of dictatorship.
Throughout the 21st century it’s seemed that more and more, the region’s people have indeed begun rising up. First with the election of an anti-imperialist government in Venezuela and the popular movement to keep this government safe from U.S. coup attempts, then with the waves of protests against neo-colonial injustices that Latin America has been experiencing in recent years, then with last year’s undoing of the 2019 CIA coup in Bolivia. The latter was especially jarring for the imperialists; last summer the benefactors of the coup were gloating about how they could “coup whoever we want,” then a few months later Bolivia’s people had forced the U.S.-installed regime to hold elections which resulted in the coming of a new socialist government. Isn’t it amazing how fast the fortunes of tyrants can turn?
After experiencing this unexpected loss of territory and market access, and amid the additional upwellings of resistance that are now sweeping much of the rest of Latin America, the imperialists are again scared. Likely even more scared than they were during the region’s last great escalation of class conflict, because during this one the people in Washington’s neo-colonies have been suffering an unprecedented amount of inequality following neoliberalism’s implementation. The brutal model of exploitation and deprivation that they put in place, which was designed to preserve capitalism amid its recent crises, has ultimately brought their system closer to its demise.
So the agents of the old system, now headed by Antony Blinken and the others in Biden’s circle of coldly calculating neoliberal technocrats, are regrouping for what they hope will be another killing blow to the resistance. After a few months of cautiously steering clear of targeting Bolivia amid the horrors the coup regime had just committed there, the imperialists have started up on a new campaign to vilify the country’s current socialist leadership. The New York Times, USA Today, and other imperialist propaganda outlets have been portraying the Bolivian government’s recent arrest of coup president Jeanine Añez as an act of cruel political persecution—which couldn’t be further from the truth, since Añez did everything to earn the charges of terrorism and sedition that are being made against her. The imperialist front group Human Rights Watch has been trying to stir up further sympathy for Bolivia’s coup perpetrators by absurdly claiming that the socialist government’s recent granting of immunity to those who resisted the coup violates democratic norms.
USA Today has even promoted the claim that there was no coup in Bolivia, and has repeated the narrative that Añez merely came to power out of necessity following charges of electoral fraud against the socialist president Evo Morales. Last year’s revelation that the Organization of American States lied about the evidence for this supposed “fraud” is omitted from these attempts to whitewash and legitimize the coup regime’s crimes. At the same time, the Biden team has been smearing Nicaragua’s Sandinista government as a dictatorship while continuing Trump’s cruel sanctions against the country’s people-as well as against the people of Cuba and Venezuela.
While the imperialists continue with these routine attempts at demonizing and economically strangulating the countries in the region which stand against them, their agents are plotting to strike against the anti-imperialist leaders and to bring back the era of dictatorship in the countries Washington still controls. U.S. mercenaries likely lurk within Bolivia by the hundreds, avoiding detection and awaiting directions to be activated. Nicaragua’s right-wing opposition groups continue to receive funds from the CIA’s National Endowment for Democracy, and the U.S. continues to wait for an opportunity for a neoliberal coup within Nicaragua under the guise of “empowering civil society.” Imperialist agents have been taking advantage of Cuba’s sanctions-exacerbated economic crisis to help foment an attempted color revolution, whose future iterations are being preemptively marketed as a “free speech” movement. The Colombian government has been working with U.S. intelligence agencies to foment dissension within Venezuela’s military, while SOUTHCOM continues its military exercises next to the Venezuelan border.
Faced with decline for U.S. hegemony and the gathering strength of proletarian movements, the imperialists are attempting to wage a perpetual war of attrition, wherein they hope their enemies will eventually cave into the pressure they’re applying. Because of how powerful China continues to grow, this strategy of gradual weakening can’t realistically apply to Washington’s biggest rival. So Washington has to try to isolate China incrementally, which it’s lately been hoping to do by appealing to Latin American neo-colonies for total loyalty towards the U.S. in the great-power competition. Earlier this year, the U.S. carried out this strategy in Ecuador by getting its servant within the country Lenin Moreno to agree to a loan that strikes at Ecuador’s relationship with China.
But like the other self-serving and destructive policies Washington has put in place within Ecuador, the country’s people are likely to reject this plan by voting for the anti-IMF presidential candidate Andrés Arauz in next month’s runoff election. So the imperialists are using their puppets within Ecuador to call for a military takeover, for the election to be nullified, and for Arauz to be prosecuted under fabricated charges. They also aim to have Moreno privatize Ecuador’s central bank before the election is over, which would free the bank from giving loans to the government and force the country’s leaders to seek further IMF aid.
This reflects Biden’s broader Latin America strategy: expand neoliberal policies while strengthening U.S. ties with the region’s right-wing leaders. This means not just the deepening of the misery of the region’s people under ever-growing inequality, but the incremental return to the dictatorships of the 21st century. Already Washington has installed an illegitimately “elected” dictator in Honduras, who’s created a refugee crisis through his proliferations of poverty and violence. And last month Haiti’s U.S.-backed president effectively declared himself a dictator by ruling without a Senate or a Chamber of Deputies. Conditions there keep getting worse as a consequence, with Haiti’s new Pinochet shooting journalists and killing protesters.
Now that Ecuador is being confronted with the power of the anti-imperialist movement, its oligarchic rulers are trying to negate its democratic process in the same ways. No doubt similar moves towards dictatorship will occur in Chile, Colombia, Brazil, and all the other neo-colonies when their own people rise up. Already, these countries are being militarized for when the inevitable class war needs to be fought. Will this be enough to stop the region from finally slipping out of Washington’s brutal grasp?
Featured image: Art by James Grainger