This was stated by the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, while speaking at the University of Louisville about the region.
The US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, said on Monday that Washington will help the “legitimate governments” of Latin America to prevent the protests, taking place in various countries, “from becoming uprisings.”
The official also denied that these riots reflect “the democratic will of the people”, in reference to the countries where demonstrations have been registered.
Pompeo made these comments during a speech he gave at the University of Louisville, state of Kentucky, this Monday, December 2. These statements are given while there are popular uprisings against neoliberal economic policies in Chile and Colombia, in addition to those registered last October in Ecuador, countries whose governments are US allies.
In addition, thousands of people protest in Bolivia against the de facto government of the self-proclaimed president Jeanine Áñez, whom the United States recognized as interim president of that country, and who assumed power by a self-proclamation after the coup against President Evo Morales.
Although the demonstrations in Bolivia, Chile, Colombia and Ecuador have been plagued with allegations of repression and all have reported deaths, Pompeo said the state response reflects the “character of legitimate democratic governments.”
The official stated that US policy in Latin America is based on “moral and strategic clarity”, which means that Washington “cannot tolerate” the regimes it considers unsatisfactory in the region.
In this sense, he justified that the US may participate in anti-riot efforts, noting that his country represents the “greatest example of democracy in the history of the world. ”
Cuba and Venezuela, the inciters
According to Pompeo, in accordance with the speeches offered by the authorities of these countries, Cuba and Venezuela are behind those who incite violence and disturbances in these territories.
Specifically, he said that Havana and Caracas “kidnap those protests” and try to convert the US allied democracies into “dictatorships.”
Also, the US official accused Russia of being a “malignant” influence in Latin America.
Pompeo’s statements agree with the actions taken by the United States in the last year in the region. Washington has backed the self-proclaimed presidents of Bolivia and Venezuela, Áñez and Juan Guaidó, respectively; while it has dismissed the popular uprisings in Ecuador, Chile and Colombia, when talking about it, it refers to “uprisings” or “violent actions”.
The uprising recorded in Ecuador the first half of October, following the Lenín Moreno government’s elimination of the fuel subsidy, in response to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which lent the country more than 4.2 billion dollars.
These demonstrations, which fulfilled their task of eliminating the government measure, left a total of 11 dead, according to the Ombudsman’s Office.
Meanwhile, in Chile the protests began on October 18. In principle, the demonstrations were against the rise in the price of the Santiago Metro ticket. Although the government of Sebastián Piñera withdrew the measure, popular discontent had already awakened historical demands, related to politics, health, pensions, education, among others.
To date, 23 people have died, mostly from police repression, which has been denounced by protesters.
In Bolivia, demonstrations have been registered since October 20, when the opposition sector refused to accept the results of the elections that day, which translated to a Morales victory for a new presidential term.
However, the demonstrations took a new direction, starting on November 10, when the coup d’etat against Morales was mounted. Thus, since October 20 there have been 34 deaths in that country, of which 31 occurred after the coup, according to data from the Ombudsman.
Meanwhile, the popular uprising in Colombia began on November 21, when a general strike was called. The demonstrations have not stopped.
The demands are several: against reforms to the labor, tax and pension systems; compliance with the peace agreements reached by the previous government with the extinct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC); for a minimum wage that allows a decent life and covers the family basket; and to stop the murders of social leaders in the country.
Translated by JRE/EF