To truly understand the current situation of Latin America, one must understand its long and embattled history. While we don’t have time to cover
the entire history of Latin America, I would like to focus on the actions of the United States throughout Latin American history, to show how
intertwined U.S. history is with Latin American history – how this history has a profound impact on the current social conditions of the Latin
Some examples of U.S. intervention throughout history are as follows. Each of these served to further U.S. control over Latin America, its people,
and its politics:
- 1898, the Spanish-American War – where the U.S. takes control of Puerto Rico, the Phillippines, and Guam.
- 1903, Roosevelt intervenes to assist with Panama’s independence from Columbia.
- 1903-1933, US Marines intervene in Nicaragua.
- 1914 – US forces occupy Vera Cruz, Mexico.
- 1915-1934, US Marines occupy Haiti.
- 1954, CIA overthrows the government of Arbenz in Guatemala.
- 1960, CIA plots to depose or assassinate Fidel Castro (“Operation Mongoose”).
- 1961 we have the failed Bay of Pigs invasion.
- 1964 the Brazilian President Goulart is overthrown by the military with covert US support.
- 1965 US forces occupy the Dominican Republic.
- 1970-73 US and multinational corporations work covertly to overthrow the socialist government of Salvador Allende in Chile.
- 1983, Reagan orders US forces to invade Granada to halt Cuban airstrip work.
- 1989, Bush Sr. orders invasion of Panama to capture dictator Noriega.
- 1994 we have the threatened invasion of Haiti by US troops.
Throughout the 1990’s, while the U.S. enjoyed the riches of the dot-com boom, multi-national corporations and their governments exploited the land
and resources of Latin America. This caused extremely difficult economic hardship for the Latin American people. Because of rampant poverty, drug
trafficking increased, Latin American’s foreign debt continued to climb to historic levels, and Latin America became more and more economically
dependant on multi-national investors and foreign “aid” packages.
The people who find they suffer from an economy where inflation exceeds income to the point where they can’t survive, have tried to protest by
electing leftist presidents and protesting free trade and American imperialism. People have considered Latin America on the “Verge” of a
socialist revolution for many generations.
The people have tried to revolt against the U.S. imperialism by protesting “free trade” and electing leaders like Hugo Chávez of Venezuela. Who
has actually succeeded at increasing Venezuela’s GNP by 18%, a 50% decrease in the inflation rate, overall income has risen by 20% since Chavez took
office, and growth of public services went up by 30% in 2004 alone.
What this means is that Chavez is making Venezuala more self-sufficient and less dependent on foreign governments, it has natural resources and many
goods to trade internationally. His government enacted land reforms where all idle lands were taken from the rich land barons and used to provide
people work and increase national production levels.
What is the reaction from the governments of those rich multi-national corporations, in particular the United States? Those who oppose Chavez and try
to ferment protests and acts of sabotage against the Chavez government have the full approval
of the current Bush administration – as well as
all other rich governments with economic interest in keeping the poor people of Latin America poor, so that the rich multi-national companies can
remain rich. The people of Latin American – even the governments of Latin America themselves, have lost control of their own countries.
The people can revolt against their government and elect new leaders all they like. Their country, regardless of rule, is overburdened by billions of
dollars of foreign debt
. The poor population in Latin America is bound by this debt. It is the one method by which the rich maintain their
economic interests, and it is the method by which the poor are kept poor.
Many countries, like Argentina, use 52% of their exports to pay the interest alone
on their debt. This heavy economic burden would prevent the
development of any country. And that is exactly what the multi-national private interests want. As much as the people revolt or change governments,
the fact is that the debt remains, and must be paid. Those who hold control over Latin America and oppress its people are most of the richest
countries of the world. These countries will make sure that there is no successful socialist revolution, because ultimately they have full control
over Latin America thanks to foreign debts. In effect, Latin America is owned. There will be no successful socialist revolution as long as
international debts continue to provide economic and political control of Latin America to foreign countries.
(Microsoft Word Count: 783)
- 1985 interview with
- “Latin America: In Defense of Venezuelan Revolution” by Franz Lee of Narconews
- Timeline of Latin American
History since 1826