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Imperialist clouds gather over Latin America

By Sean Orr

Milwaukee, WI – On Dec. 18, Donald Trump announced his administration’s National Security Strategy, essentially laying out the worldview of the American ruling class and how the U.S. intends to project its power into the future. All in all, it is more of the same: “peace through strength” by pumping hundreds of billions of dollars away from the needs of the American people and into the Pentagon, border militarization and the use of all means available to extend U.S. influence to every corner of the globe.

While much of the press around the National Security Strategy focused on its recognition that Russia and China are creating a multipolar world, and that the U.S. ruling class will do everything possible to combat this, a significant portion of the strategy focuses on the backyard of the American empire: Latin America.

The policy towards Latin America calls for a 21st century Monroe Doctrine. It demands that Latin American governments recognize U.S. dominance, cooperate with the U.S. in implementing neoliberal reforms, and allow the DEA and other U.S. armed agencies to act however they wish across the region. Those governments that do not go along with U.S. goals will be isolated and treated as enemies of “hemispheric peace and prosperity.”

The list of targets have been drawn up. The national democratic and progressive efforts of the ‘Pink Tide’ are to be rolled back, country by country. The Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela is to be suffocated by sanctions and fascist violence. Socialist Cuba, the shining light of our hemisphere, is to be snuffed out.

Pink Tide rolls back

After nearly a decade of progressive victories across the continent, the pro-American comprador bourgeoisie in Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, Chile, Peru and several other countries have regained political power and are ruthlessly attacking the popular forces of their respective countries. Like their masters in the U.S., the ruling classes of these countries have often abandoned their facades of the old political parties, now disgraced, and rule in their own interests. There are no better examples than Argentine president Mauricio Macri, Brazilian president Michel Temer and Chilean president Sebastian Piñera, three billionaires with unashamed relations to the past genocidal dictatorships of their nations. At Piñera’s victory rally, his supporters proudly raised busts and images of Augusto Pinochet, while Macri has shown little qualms with ‘disappearing’ progressive activists and relentlessly gutting social programs.

In Colombia, decades of armed struggle recently ended in a negotiated peace between the Colombian government and the FARC. A number of progressive victories were scored. This peace has been undermined by the U.S., which continues to use the Colombian military as its proxy. Progressive gains for the Colombian people are unacceptable to the Trump administration, who demand fealty from the only NATO member in South America. Campesinos have been massacred, dozens of activists have been assassinated, and the whole peace process is now in question because of U.S. arrogance and Colombian subservience.

In Peru, the world was stunned by the amnesty granted to Alberto Fujimori, the imprisoned ex-president who led the last arch-reactionary government in Latin America. From 1990 to 2000, Fujimori dissolved all democratic procedures and ruled by decree, slaughtering thousands of Peruvians and destroying innumerable lives all to prevent a social revolution in the country. His release from prison signals a formal alliance between neoliberal president Pedro Kuczynski, an investment banker that lived in New York City for decades, and the reactionary remnants of the Fujimori regime, a foreboding sign of things to come for the Peruvian people.

Forces of liberation dig in, fight back

As U.S. imperialism presses on across the region, the national liberation movements that remain in power are digging in for the long run.

In Bolivia, president Evo Morales announced before a crowd of a million supporters his intent to run for a fourth term in 2018. The first indigenous president of the only indigenous-majority country in our hemisphere, Morales has led a process of political and economic self-determination in Bolivia, becoming the most vocally anti-imperialist government on the continent, behind Venezuela. This in a country where U.S. corporations once held so much sway they were able to privatize water in order to make more profit. Morales’ progressive administration, with the support of the country’s popular movements, will continue to be a pole of resistance to U.S. domination and a source of inspiration for indigenous and other oppressed peoples across the hemisphere.

In a surprising twist, the U.S. plans of continental re-domination have hit their biggest roadblock in the country that often gets the most attention: Venezuela. On Dec. 10, Venezuela held mayoral elections across the country. The reactionary opposition, reeling from its electoral defeats in July and October and divided over which path to take forward, was unprepared to challenge the United Socialist Party (PSUV), whose momentum and popular support secured them 308 of the 335 mayoralties. This was a stunning turn of events, and shows the total failure of the far-right opposition’s strategy. Instead of bringing them to power, months of street violence had two major effects: it strengthened the position of CIA-backed fascists in the right-wing coalition, the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD); and further isolated the opposition from the Venezuelan people, losing them swathes of political support.

After Venezuela’s October governor elections, when they lost in 19 of 23 states, the opposition turned on itself and lost all political momentum. The MUD leadership finally agreed to meet with the government in peace talks held in the Dominican Republic, although there was little consensus in the opposition to do so. Some of its leaders, like imprisoned fascist Leopoldo Lopez, want to abandon the electoral realm altogether and seek open collaboration with the Pentagon to overthrow the Maduro government. Other leaders seem to place their hopes in the ongoing peace talks, facilitated by the Dominican Republic. It is doubtful though that Lopez's fascist gangs would adhere to any negotiated settlement, bringing the entire future of the MUD into question.

It is worth noting that U.S. mainstream media, often the loudest amplifiers of the most reactionary opposition elements, provided ample space to critics of the election boycott. The U.S. empire wants vigorous lap dogs in Venezuela, not ones willing to sit out a fight.

It is indisputable that the Bolivarian Revolution, a radical national democratic movement led by the PSUV, has the broad backing of the Venezuelan people. Dozens of elections and referenda in the past seventeen years have confirmed this, despite the best efforts of the comprador elite and the U.S. government. The near-universal control of political power at the local and state levels, along with the implosion of the organized opposition, puts the Bolivarian movement in the strongest possible position to win next year’s presidential election, with Vice President Tareck El-Aissami swearing that 2018 “will give us a tremendous revolutionary victory.”

Cuba leads the way

While the Trump administration bombastically swaggers across the region, preaching American supremacy and capitalist hegemony, the heroic Cuban people, led by their Communist Party, preach a different worldview entirely. Instead of recognizing the hemisphere as one where resources must flow north to feed the American empire, the Cuban people call for the creation of Nuestra América (Our America), one where all of the peoples of the Americas are able to live freely and develop their societies in their own interests, without outside interference and without suffering under the weight of oppressive classes.

Through the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), the governments of Cuba, Venezuela, and Bolivia work together to make this vision a reality. May all of us in the U.S. who wish to see such a world support these movements wholeheartedly, as they wage battle on the rotting socioeconomic system that holds all of us down.

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