Tag Archives: Latin America

U.S. Regional Imperialism: Big Sticks, and Even Bigger Guns, by Danny Sjursen

There are a myriad of good reasons why people in Latin America want Yankees to go home. From Danny Sjursen at theamericanconservative.com

Our history in Latin America is marked by arrogance and aggression. Is what’s happening in Venezuela any different?

Uncle Sam straddles the Americas while wielding a big stick labeled ‘Monroe Doctrine.’ American cartoon by Louis Dalrymple, 1905. (public domain)
Uncle Sam doesn’t have the best track record in Latin America. Few foreign policy elites seem to care. Yet, in what the regional proconsul, Admiral Craig Faller of Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), recently called “our hemisphere” and “our neighborhood,” the actual residents haven’t forgotten. Odds are, the U.S. will be even less welcome after the latest local adventure, the bizarre foiled American mercenary-led coup meant to topple President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela.

It is tempting and not unreasonable to dismiss the recent folly as an incompetent one-off. No doubt, by any practical measure it must be judged—an appropriate term since “Operation Gideon,” was named for a biblical Hebrew jurist—a total failure. Karl Marx famously intoned that “history repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce.” Seen thus, the disastrous 1961 CIA-sponsored Bay of Pigs invasion of Fidel Castro’s Cuba counts as the tragedy; and the newest escapade as farce. Neat though the analogy be, this would be a mistake.

The broad contours of the coup attempt are widely reported. Combat-seasoned former U.S. green berets from the private military company Silvercorp, allegedly negotiated a lucrative contract with the Venezuelan opposition to violently replace Maduro with Juan Guaidó. The mission fell apart for a variety of reasons: incompetence, internecine division, and regime infiltration. Yet, for all the drama involved its occurrence wasn’t a total shock.

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Quieter and Quieter: The Evolution of Latin America’s Silent Coups, by Ted Snider

The US government is always working on ways to make its regime changes less noticeable. From Ted Snider at antiwar.com:

American interference with Latin American regimes began early and happened often. As early as the close of the nineteenth century, McKinley had betrayed and stolen Cuba. In 1903, Theodore Roosevelt severed Panama from Columbia, declared it an independent nation and put in power a government whose first act was to sign over the future Panama Canal. By 1908, America was already executing regime changes in Venezuela, cooperating in the removal of Venezuelan President Juan Vicente Gómez. A year later, President Taft took Nicaragua’s José Santos Zelaya out of power. McKinley, Roosevelt and Taft: the three presidents who steered America onto the path of regime change.

In these early days, the coups were usually won with the violence of the gun. That trend would continue in America’s backyard in the modern era. In 1954, Eisenhower ordered the overthrow of Guatemala’s Jacobo Arbenz. Eisenhower would also start the covert action to remove Fidel Castro from Cuba that Kennedy would continue. A decade later, in 1964, Kennedy would kick off the Brazilian coup that took out João Goulart and undertake the political action to encourage the removal of Cheddi Jagan from power in Guyana.

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A Pattern of Passing Up Peace, by Ted Snider

For the warfare state, peace is the worst possible prospect. From Ted Snider at antiwar.com:

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement with Iran was working. Iran was consistently in compliance, the US and Iran were talking and diplomacy was working. Then Trump turned his back on peace, shattered the diplomacy and resuscitated the hostile relation with Iran.

This pass that Trump took on peace was not the first time the US had been offered peace by Iran and passed it up. In 2003, Iranian president Seyyed Mohammad Khatami and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei approved a comprehensive nuclear proposal that they offered to President George W. Bush. Bush ignored the overture and refused to respond.

Illegally pulling out of the JCPOA was not only not the first time the US took a pass on an Iranian offer of peace, it was also not the last. Iranian general Qassem Suleimani went to Baghdad to deliver Iran’s response to a Saudi de-escalation overture. A de-escalation of violence between the leaders of the Sunni and Shi’ite worlds might go a long way toward potentially calming the middle east. So, the US assassinated him.

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Is Trump’s New Drug Cartel Terrorism Designation Masking a More Sinister Agenda? by Alan Macleod

Does calling drug traffickers terrorists open the door for some US regime changing in Mexico and points south? From Alan Macleod at mintpressnews.com:

Everybody in Latin America knows what happens to leftist heads of state who challenge the power of the local elites and of the US government.

President Donald Trump announced that he will designate Mexican drug cartels as “terrorists”, paving the way for a potentially massive increase in American military involvement directly south of its border. “They will be designated,” Trump told ex-Fox Newsanchor Bill O’Reilly during an interview, revealing that he asked the Mexican government for permission to put soldiers on the ground: “let us go in and clean it out,” Trump said, revealing that they have “so far has rejected the offer. But at some point, something has to be done.”

Mexico’s left-wing president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, commonly referred to by his initials, AMLO, hit back Friday, insisting that his country had not been invaded for more than a century and that he would not permit an invasion under his watch, revealing exactly how he understood Trump’s offer.

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What’s Behind Our World on Fire? by Patrick J. Buchanan

The title is wrong. The world isn’t on fire yet, what Buchanan is describing is a brush fire. The real conflagration is yet to come. From Buchanan at buchanan.org:

When the wildfires of California broke out across the Golden State, many were the causes given.

Negligence by campers. Falling power lines. Arson. A dried-out land. Climate change. Failure to manage forests, prune trees and clear debris, leaving fuel for blazes ignited. Abnormally high winds spreading the flames. Too many fires for first responders to handle.

So, too, there appears to be a multiplicity of causes igniting and fueling the protests and riots sweeping capital cities across our world.

The year-long yellow vest protests in Paris, set off by fuel price hikes that were swiftly rescinded, seemed to grind down this weekend to several thousand anarchic and violent die-hards.

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We, Too, Can Be a Failed Latin American State! by Ann Coulter

Want to turn a country into a banana republic? Elect politicians who promise the moon to get elected. From Ann Coulter at anncoulter.com:

The left’s enthusiasm for Third World immigrants isn’t only because they vote 8-2 for the Democrats. It’s that Latin American peasants seem uniquely amenable to idiotic socialist schemes.

You probably think it’s beyond silliness for Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren to keep promising FREE HEALTH CARE FOR ALL! NO PREMIUMS! NO CO-PAYS! ILLEGAL ALIENS, TOO! EVERYBODY GETS A PONY!

No one could be gullible enough to fall for that.

I refer you to the economic powerhouse that is Latin America.

Based on hundreds of years of indigenous people voting for politicians who made similar promises, Latin America has become the dream factory that it is today. That’s why Tegucigalpa is practically a byword for “technological innovation,” Santiago was the picture of calm sophistication this weekend, and Caracas is the ultimate in modern conveniences.

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The Triumph of Evil, by Paul Craig Roberts

You certainly have to fall in with the US government if your country is in the Western Hemisphere. From Paul Craig Roberts at paulcraigroberts.com:

Today (April 17) I heard a NPR “news” report that described the democratically elected president of Venezuela as “the Venezuelan dictator Maduro.” By repeating over and over that a democratically elected president is a dictator, the presstitutes create that image of Maduro in the minds of vast numbers of peoples who know nothing about Venezuela and had never heard of Maduro until he is dropped on them as “dictator.”

Nicolas Maduro Moros was elected president of Venezuela in 2013 and again in 2018. Previously he served as vice president and foreign minister, and he was elected to the National Assembly in 2000. Despite Washington’s propaganda campaign against him and Washington’s attempt to instigate violent street protests and Maduro’s overthrow by the Venezuelan military, whose leaders have been offered large sums of money, Maduro has the overwhelming support of the people, and the military has not moved against him.

What is going on is that American oil companies want to recover their control over the revenue streams from Venezuela’s vast oil reserves. Under the Bolivarian Revolution of Chavez, continued by Maduro, the oil revenues instead of departing the country have been used to reduce poverty and raise literacy inside Venezuela.

The opposition to Maduro inside Venezuela comes from the elites who have been traditionally allied with Washington in the looting of the country. These corrupt elites, with the CIA’s help, temporarily overthrew Chavez, but the people and the Venezuelan military secured his release and return to the presidency.

Washington has a long record of refusing to accept any reformist governments in Latin America. Reformers get in the way of North America’s exploitation of Latin American countries and are overthrown.

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Washington Has Appointed A President For Venezuela, by Paul Craig Roberts

Apparently Washington has tried to appoint a president for Venezuela, but it looks like this effort is destined to share the same fate as earlier efforts. From Paul Craig Roberts at paulcraigroberts.org:

After listening since 2016 to the American presstitutes complain, without providing a mere scrap of evidence, of Russia meddling in US elections, a person would think that the last thing Washington would do would be to meddle in other countries’ elections.

Unfortunately, that is not the case. Washington routinely meddles but now has gone far beyond mere meddling. Washington has this day (January 23, 2019) declared that the elected president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, is no longer the Venezuelan president. Washington, not the Venezulan people, has decided who is Venezuela’s president. Declaring the elected government to be “illegitimate,” President Trump elected by diktat the Venezuelan president: “Today, I am officially recognizing the President of the Venezuelan National Assembly, Juan Guaido, as the Interim President of Venezuela.” https://www.rt.com/news/449533-trump-recognizes-venezuela-opposition/

Clearly, Gaido is in Washington’s pocket or Washington would not have chosen him.

Maduro, like Chavez before him, has committed the unpardonable crime of representing the Venezuelan people instead of American corporate and financial interests. Washington simply does not tolerate Latin American governments that represent Latin American people. As US Marine General Smedley Buttler said, he and his Marines made Latin America safe for the United Fruit Company and investments by US banks.

So, now Venezuela has two presidents. One elected by the people, and one appointed by Washington. How long before Washington does this to Russia, China, Iran, Syria, Turkey, India?

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Latin America Has Fewer Guns, But More Crime, by Ryan McMaken

There is no discernible relationship between gun control laws and crime. From Ryan McMaken at mises.org:

he news in Latin America this year has brought two reminders that Latin America’s stringent gun controls have not stemmed the growing homicide problem in many parts of the region.

The first is that homicides reached new highs in Mexico this year , reaching record levels not seen since the country began keeping records twenty years ago.

Secondly, violent crime became a significant issue in this year’s presidential race, with president-elect Jair Bolsonaro running on a platform of fighting crime, pledging to “use the army” if need be.

In both cases, crime continues to soar in spite of the fact that that both Brazil and Mexico are anything but what we might call “laissez-faire” when it comes to gun ownership. Indeed, both employ stringent gun control regimes — as do most of Latin America’s states.

These fact have long presented a problem for advocates of gun control, of course, since their arguments often rely on the idea that reducing gun ownership will bring lower crime rates.

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Commandos Sans Frontières, by Nick Turse

US Special Forces are everywhere, safeguarding the American way of life. From Nick Turse at tomdispatch.com:

Early last month, at a tiny military post near the tumbledown town of Jamaame in Somalia, small arms fire began to ring out as mortar shells crashed down. When the attack was over, one Somali soldier had been wounded — and had that been the extent of the casualties, you undoubtedly would never have heard about it.

As it happened, however, American commandos were also operating from that outpost and four of them were wounded, three badly enough to be evacuated for further medical care. Another special operator, Staff Sergeant Alexander Conrad, assigned to the U.S. Army’s Special Forces (also known as the Green Berets), was killed.

If the story sounds vaguely familiar — combat by U.S. commandos in African wars that America is technically not fighting — it should. Last December, Green Berets operating alongside local forces in Niger killed 11 Islamic State militants in a firefight. Two months earlier, in October, an ambush by an Islamic State terror group in that same country, where few Americans (including members of Congress) even knew U.S. special operators were stationed, left four U.S. soldiers dead — Green Berets among them. (The military first described that mission as providing “advice and assistance” to local forces, then as a “reconnaissance patrol” as part of a broader “train, advise, and assist” mission, before it was finally exposed as a kill or capture operation.) Last May, a Navy SEAL was killed and two other U.S. personnel were wounded in a raid in Somalia that the Pentagon described as an “advise, assist, and accompany” mission. And a month earlier, a U.S. commando reportedly killed a member of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a brutal militia that has terrorized parts of Central Africa for decades.

And there had been, as the New York Times noted in March, at least 10 other previously unreported attacks on American troops in West Africa between 2015 and 2017. Little wonder since, for at least five years, as Politico recently reported, Green Berets, Navy SEALs, and other commandos, operating under a little-understood legal authority known as Section 127e, have been involved in reconnaissance and “direct action” combat raids with African special operators in Somalia, Cameroon, Kenya, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Tunisia.

To continue reading: Commandos Sans Frontières