On Mike Pompeo and “Respect in Latin America”

Why the Secretary of State of the United States’ statements show a grave future to countries in Latin America.

hile the news continuously rages on about the impeachment hearings currently going on against President Donald Trump, the situation in Latin America has consistently been getting out of control with protests and mass movements taking place across the geopolitical entity.

Mike Pompeo’s speech at the McConnell Center’s Distinguished Speaker Series that took place on December 2, 2019 was titled “Diplomatic Realism, Restraint, and Respect in Latin America”, in which the Secretary of State discussed the future of Latin America, alongside the protests that are currently raging across numerous states in the region.

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Photo by Caleb Perez on Unsplash

The primary highlight of the speech delivered is that Pompeo expressed the notion that Washington will help so-called “legitimate governments” to ensure stability in those nations.

Here’s the issue with that.

The United States has an extremely poor history in regards to domestic Latin American politics, as the country has consistently funded rebel groups, supported illegal governments, and directly contributed to coup d’etats in several countries across the region throughout the last century and beyond.

The ambiguity of the statements made by Pompeo regarding “moral and strategic clarity” (referring to foreign policy in Latin America) is worrisome, especially given the human rights violations happening in governments that the United States has supported in the past and also presently supports.

These nations include, but are not limited to, the new government in Bolivia, which has already overseen many severe human rights abuses against the indigenous populations within the country, alongside the protests currently raging on in Chile and Colombia against reforms made by right-wing governments.

Pompeo also mentioned that the United States will “continue to support countries trying to prevent Cuba and Venezuela” from interfering in these protest movements, despite the United States being guilty of doing the exact same thing across numerous different points in time.

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Photo by Alexander Kunze on Unsplash

While protests in Chile, Ecuador, Bolivia (post-Morales), and other governments that are aligned with Washington have been devastating, little to nothing has been said regarding the condemnation of said governments and their usage of violent measures. Other nations such as Venezuela and Cuba have seen the opposite treatment, often seeing Washington support the violence and the self-proclaimed government of Juan Guaidó.

For example, while the United States stands firmly behind the new government in Bolivia under Jeanine Áñez, countless indigenous protests are being dispersed with tear gas and are also being killed for protesting the new regime, despite it supposedly being a so-called return to democracy.

On top of this, the United States has said little to nothing publicly pertaining to the violence in Chile. The brutality has left over 285 people with eye injuries at the hands of the Chilean security forces. Despite the protests also resulting in the arrests of over 7,200 people, no action has been taken against the Piñera government.

A recent poll regarding Piñera’s popularity in November 2019 found that he reflects “only 4.6% approval” throughout the country.

In contrast, the measures against Nicolás Maduro and Venezuela have been grandiose to say the least. The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) found that the economic sanctions placed against the country by the United States has resulted in the deaths of over 40,000 people.

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Photo by Jorge Fernández Salas on Unsplash

In addition, after supporting destabilization efforts in Bolivia and Venezuela, the next country that Washington sees as a threat is Nicaragua, yet another democratically-elected socialist government that is against the United States and their foreign policy initiatives in Latin America.

With the vow to help so-called “legitimate governments” according to Pompeo via very vague phrasing, the future of protest movements and various governments in the region remains extremely uncertain. As history has shown, involvement by the United States in domestic Latin American politics has resulted in military dictatorships, civil war, economic warfare, and more.

South Slavic writer focusing on anti-imperialism, Marxism, and the international working class.

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