We sit here almost sixteen years since George W Bush was elected president of the U.S. and in that time Latin America and the Caribbean have flourished.
It is no coincidence that during this southern American Renaissance our neighbors to the north were really not paying us any mind, they were involved in interventions further afield, ‘breaking the shackles of taliban oppression’ in Afghanistan and bringing ‘democracy’ to Iraq. During this time the people’s of southern America experimented with governments of different flavours, some as in Venezuela, hardcore socialists, in Ecuador a flat left wing (but not extreme) government and what can only be described as a democratic socialist government in Brazil.
During this time the nation’s of the region experimented with different trade partners, mainly China. Regional matters were also spoken of in an open way, now no longer as fearful of what the U.S. would say. One such example was the Cuban issue. For nigh on sixty years Cuba had been unjustly excluded from the OAS and almost to a man Latin America backed the US stance, however during this brief respite from American domination the OAS voted to reintroduce Cuba and if America wouldn’t play ball they would be collectively frozen out and shamed publicly.
But all of that is changing. Ever so quietly, the U.S. has made a pivot to the Americas in an attempt to reassert there authority over there ‘backyard’.
This could first be seen openly in Jamaica during the Bruce Golding years. They were having discussions about selling the port to the Chinese, all was going along swimmingly barring a few usual bumps. Then out of the blue, when it looked like a deal was but a few months away we backed out. Why, may you ask did a nation up to debt to its eyeballs scuttle a multi billion dollar deal?
Convenient wikileaks cables show us that the U.S. pressured the Jamaican government to scuttle the deal because it was seen as an existential threat to U.S. regional hegemony.
This pattern was to be repeated. In Honduras we saw and continue to see the U.S. openly endorsing the coup and the government it installed, in Argentina we see state department money flowing through the ruling parties coffers which aided them greatly in seizing power after a lengthy political exile While Venezuela, who’s ruling party really hasn’t helped themselves in the recent past and especially since the passing of Chavez, sees an opposition that is finally united and still flush with U.S. capital.
That this should happen should not surprise us, the U.S. has and will forever view Latin America and the Caribbean as it’s backyard and plaything, that is not new. What is interesting is that the US is doing the maneuvers in a silent way.
No longer do they use death squads and military coups, now they use parliamentary instiimpeachments to try topple them like in Brazil or opposition parties are financed to the hilt by US ngo’s that openly preach neo-liberalism.
The US is trying to regain its stranglehold on the Caribbean and Latin America and as seen by recent happenings in Brazil they will stop at nothing and will do anything along with there cronies.
However spanners have been thrown in the machine. Venezuela is solidly split in half as can be seen in the violent protests for and against Maduro, Brazil is embroiled in protests for and against Dilma even after her unjust impeachment and the majority of parliamentarians who brought forward the motion of impeachment face serious corruption allegations all while the Argentinean president is facing increasing pressure due to the Panama papers leak. Latin America is finally having the discussion about American influence and how much they should have and it’s oligarchs are staunchly against it.
This discussion will not be a quiet one, too much money, honour and blood is involved but is a discussion that needs to be had nonetheless. America has ruled the Americas unchecked for almost a century, Latin America for longer, they have done a lot of good and a lot of bad in the region but yet we as a people and individual nations have had no say, something must give.
The usual suspects will chime in saying that the US is doing nothing or at most nothing wrong, these are the same people who refused to believe that the CIA was responsible for Allende or destroyed El Salvador, but as seen with the wikileaks cables nothing stays in the dark forever, a change is on the horizon.