In an ongoing operation, the US imperialist hawks seek to wipe out the last Leftist governments in Latin America
Ten years ago, most of Latin America was governed by Center-Left progressive or even Leftist governments. For example, Cristina Fernandez in Argentina, Evo Morales in Bolivia, Rafael Correa in Ecuador, Fernando Lugo in Paraguay, Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua, Manuel Zelaya in Honduras, and Lula da Silva in Brazil, just as an example. And Hugo Chavez, of course, in Venezuela. Since then, the so-called 'pink tide' has receded quite dramatically. Of these 10 governments that were Left of Center, only four remain. Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela, Morales in Bolivia, Vazquez in Uruguay, and Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua. What happened? Some would argue that the US played an important role in at least some of these changes.
Speaking to Greg Wilpert and the RealNews, Mark Weisbrot explains the impact of the Leftist or Center-Left governments on Latin America, as well as the US efforts to overthrow these governments and replace them by Rright-Wing puppet regimes. This is a struggle that has become common in a region that heavily suffers for decades by the US dirty interventions as it is considered the backyard of the US empire and the primary colonial field for the big US corporations:
If you look at the region as a whole, the poverty rate dropped from 44 to 28 percent. That was from around 2003-2013. And that was after the two decades prior where poverty had actually increased, there was no progress at all. So that was a huge change, and it was accomplished in different countries, in different ways.
There were large increases in public investment in Bolivia and Ecuador. In Brazil you had also some increase in public investment, big increases in the minimum wage. Every country did different things to help bring healthcare, and increase, in some countries, access to education. And there were a whole lot of reforms, changes in macroeconomic policy, getting rid of the IMF.
So there were a lot of different things that these governments did that prior governments were either unable, or unwilling to do to improve people's living standards during a period of higher economic growth, which they also contributed to.
When Right-Wing governments took over most of the continent you have different things that have changed.
One is, of course, they're implementing, as you would expect, Right-Wing reforms. Trying to cut pension system, the pension in Brazil. Passing a constitutional amendment which, even most economists in the world wouldn't support in Brazil, which prohibits the government from increasing spending beyond the rate of inflation. You have huge increases in utility prices in Argentina, laying off thousands of public sector workers. So, everywhere where the Right has come back, you do have some regressive changes.
The US has been involved in most of these countries in various ways. Obviously in Venezuela they've been involved since the coup in 2002, and they tried to overthrow the government and tried to help people topple the government on several occasions there.
In Brazil, they supported the coup against Dilma, the parliamentary coup. So, they didn't do that strongly, but they sent enough signals, for example, as the House was voting to impeach Dilma without actually presenting a crime that she committed. The head of the Foreign Relations Committee from the Senate came and met with the No3 official from the US State Department, Tom Shannon. And then, in August of that year, the Secretary of State, John Kerry, went down there and had a press conference with the Acting Foreign Minister, Jose Serra. And they talked about how great relations with the US were going to be before Dilma was actually removed from office. So these were ways of endorsing the coup.
The FBI, the Department of Justice contributed to the investigation that was instrumental in imprisoning Lula. What they did in that investigation we don't know exactly, but we do know enough about it to know that it wasn't a neutral investigation. That is, the investigation did end up decapitating the Workers' Party for now. First helping get rid of Dilma, but more importantly, or more substantially, in terms of its contribution, they helped put Lula in prison and prevent him from running for office.
In Paraguay, the US helped in the consolidation of that parliamentary coup by organizing within the Organization of American States.
In Haiti, in 2004, they took the president and put him on a rendition plane, and flew him out of the country. That was in broad daylight.
In Honduras, is probably the biggest role that the US has played, both in consolidating the military coup in 2009. Hillary Clinton acknowledged her role in making sure that President Zelaya, the democratically elected president, would not return to office, and then more recently, in November, they helped consolidate the results of an election which pretty much all observers regarded as stolen.
In Argentina, other branches of government were involved as well as the executive, but the executive cut off lending from multilateral development banks such as the Inter-American Development Bank, and tried to block loans at the World Bank, as well. And they restored everything as soon as the Right-Wing government was elected. And then, there was Judge Griesa in New York, who took over 90 percent of Argentina's creditors hostage in order to squeeze them so that the government would pay off the vulture funds. And this was very political, because he also lifted the injunction as soon as you had the Right-Wing government.
This is very important, because obviously it's not necessarily a conspiracy of all these branches of government. The legislative branch was involved in this as well, in the United States. But they all have the same mindset, and they're all trying to get rid of these Left governments, and they had a massive contribution. In Argentina, that did contribute to the downfall of Cristina Kirchner. It contributed to balance of payments problems that they had there. So this was important, and it's totally ignored in the United States.
You have intervention in Mexico, for example. US officials have already said how worried they are that AMLO, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who is the frontrunner in the upcoming election in July. And he's probably going to win, but they're already trying to undermine him, lobbying accusations of Russia involvement, which is the new trend. Of course, completely unsubstantiated.
In Venezuela they're doing something probably never done in the last 50 years, openly calling for a military coup, and actually a financial embargo they've put in place, and threatening even a worse embargo if they don't get rid of the current government. So that's a more aggressive form of intervention than you had even under the prior administrations.
As has been mentioned previously:
A wave of neoliberal onslaught shakes currently Latin America. While in Argentina, Mauricio Macri allegedly took the power normally, the constitutional coup against Dilma Rousseff in Brazil, as well as, the usual actions of the Right opposition in Venezuela against Nicolás Maduro with the help of the US finger, are far more obvious.
The special weight of these three countries in Latin America is extremely important for the US imperialism to regain ground in the global geopolitical arena. Especially the last ten to fifteen years, each of them developed increasingly autonomous policies away from the US close custody, under Leftist governments, and this was something that alarmed the US imperialism components.
Brazil appears to be the most important among the three, not only due to its size, but also as a member of the BRICS, the team of fast growing economies who threaten the US and generally the Western global dominance. The constitutional coup against Rousseff was rather a sloppy action and reveals the anxiety of the US establishment to regain control through puppet regimes. This is a well-known situation from the past through which the establishment attempts to secure absolute dominance in the US backyard.
The importance of Venezuela due to its oil reserves is also significant. When Maduro tried to approach Russia in order to strengthen the economic cooperation between the two countries, he must had set the alarm for the neocons in the US. Venezuela could find an alternative in Russia and BRICS, in order to breathe from the multiple economic war that was set off by the US. It is characteristic that the economic war against Russia by the US and the Saudis, by keeping the oil prices in historically low levels, had significant impact on the Venezuelan economy too. It is also known that the US organizations are funding the opposition since Chávez era, in order to proceed in provocative operations that could overthrow the Leftist governments.
The case of Venezuela is really interesting. The US imperialists were fiercely trying to overthrow the Leftist governments since Chávez administration. They found now a weaker president, Nicolás Maduro - who certainly does not have the strength and personality of Hugo Chávez - to achieve their goal.
The Western media mouthpieces are doing their job, which is propaganda as usual. The recipe is known. You present the half truth, with a big overdose of exaggeration. The establishment parrots are demonizing Socialism, but they won't ever tell you about the money that the US is spending, feeding the Right-Wing groups and opposition to proceed in provocative operations, in order to create instability. They won't tell you about the financial war conducted through the oil prices, manipulated by the Saudis, the close US ally.
Regarding Argentina, former president, Cristina Kirchner, had also made some important moves towards the stronger cooperation with Russia, which was something unacceptable for Washington's hawks. Not only for geopolitical reasons, but also because Argentina could escape from the vulture funds that sucking its blood since its default. This would give the country an alternative to the neoliberal monopoly of destruction. The US big banks and corporations would never accept such a perspective because the debt-enslaved Argentina is a golden opportunity for a new round of huge profits. It's happening right now in eurozone's debt colony, Greece.