US Intervention in
Latin America in the 21st Century
Many people may be familiar with the history of US intervention in Latin America and the Caribbean, including countless acts of aggression against Cuba since the triumph of the Revolution, the coup against Salvador Allende in Chile in 1973, the economic warfare and CIA-backed violence in Jamaica from 1975 to 1980, the invasion of Grenada in 1983, and arming the Contras in Nicaragua in the 1980s.
There was the infamous "Operation Condor" unleashed across all of South America, where the US supported right-wing dictatorships and their repression of social movements. Thousands of people were murdered at the hands of the CIA and their local collaborators.
At the turn of the 21st century, the Left had overcome many challenges to rise to power in countries all across Latin America. The sovereignty of democratic peoples has been treated as some sort of threat to the pride of the arrogant imperialists. Lately, they have again shown signs that they will stop at nothing to subordinate our peoples to their hegemony.
In line with their interests, the imperialists have conducted misinformation campaigns to turn people of the world against progressive governments. They have spread lies to demonise the people of Haiti, as well as the governments of Venezuela and Nicaragua in particular, as they have been doing with Cuba for decades. The next target may be Bolivia.
It is necessary for us to compile this information so that persons can see the patterns of deliberate actions taken by the US to destabilise countries in the region. It is important to remember that lives are lost, and more are at risk, due to this dangerous game that the empire is playing against our peoples. It is also necessary to dispel the lies that they tell in their attempts to justify their actions.
Please note: This is a compilation, not an article. It will be updated with additions over time. Click the subheadings under each country to expand the text.
The US has been hostile to Cuba ever since the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959. Cubans were tired of being tenants on their own land, so the revolutionary government had seized control of property and resources that were foreign-owned, nationalising major industries and redistributing agricultural land to small farmers. In response to these actions, the US government imposed a blockade to punish the Cubans.
- The US government noted that "The majority of Cubans support Castro" and that "The only foreseeable means of alienating internal support is through disenchantment and disaffection based on economic dissatisfaction and hardship." - US State Department
- The US government believed that "every possible means should be undertaken promptly to weaken the economic life of Cuba. If such a policy is adopted, it should be the result of a positive decision which would call forth a line of action which, while as adroit and inconspicuous as possible, makes the greatest inroads in denying money and supplies to Cuba, to decrease monetary and real wages, to bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of government." - US State Department
We can see that the US takes measures to destabilise economies with the intention of pressuring the people to overthrow their government. We should all oppose the USA's inhumane blockade against Cuba. It creates unnecessary hardship for the Cuban people, and this is why it needs to end. The Democratic Party in the USA claims that they want to see the blockade end, but for sinister reasons. Instead of seeing it as a human rights violation, they simply see it as an ineffective policy of regime change, and their hope is to replace it with policy for regime change that will be more effective. They hope that the end of the blockade will allow them to have more influence on Cuba's internal affairs. The end of the blockade will undoubtedly be a good thing for Cuba and its people, but the USA cannot be trusted.
- Hillary Clinton said that “The Cuba embargo needs to go, once and for all. We should replace it with a smarter approach that empowers the Cuban private sector, Cuban civil society and the Cuban-American community to spur progress and keep pressure on the regime” and that "Engagement is not a gift to the Castros, it is a threat to the Castros. An American embassy in Havana isn’t a concession, it’s a beacon" - The Guardian
- It has also been said that "Obama’s visit was intended to build irreversible momentum behind his opening with Cuba and to convince the Cuban people and the Cuban government that a half century of US attempts to overthrow the communist government had ended, allowing Cuba to reform its economy and political system more quickly." - The Guardian
The US is two-faced. While the US government preached peace, USAID was trying to incite Cuban youth to engage in subversive activities against the Cuban government. The idea was to set up a network that seemed to be Cuban so that Cuban youth would trust it, and then disseminate information and perspectives intended to manipulate Cuban youth to act against their government; they did not know that the operators of the network were American, or that it had political objectives.
- A social media platform "was reportedly designed to attract a subscriber base with discussion initially about everyday topics such as sport and weather" so that it would become popular while avoiding suspicion, and then "US officials then planned to introduce political messages in the hope of spurring the network's users, especially younger Cubans, into dissent from their communist-run government" - BBC News
- "The US government planned to build a subscriber base through "non-controversial content": news messages on soccer, music, and hurricane updates. Later when the network reached a critical mass of subscribers, perhaps hundreds of thousands, operators would introduce political content aimed at inspiring Cubans to organize 'smart mobs' — mass gatherings called at a moment's notice that might trigger a Cuban spring" - The Guardian
"At its peak, the project drew in more than 40,000 Cubans to share news and exchange opinions. But its subscribers were never aware it was created by the US government, or that American contractors were gathering their private data in the hope that it might be used for political purposes." It was said that hiding the US' involvement was "absolutely crucial for the long-term success of the service and to ensure the success of the Mission" - The Guardian
"The Obama administration acknowledged Thursday that it had attempted, and failed, to build a Twitter-like social media site in Cuba" and claimed that it was "not a covert program to overthrow the government" but "The State Department said the hope was that over time it would promote democracy" and "The State Department has long viewed text messaging as a potential instrument of so-called street diplomacy, especially after it was widely used in Iran in 2009 to organize protests against the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president." - New York Times
The USA openly maintains a policy of regime change towards Venezuela, i.e. the Americans believe that they have a right to dictate that the Venezuelan government should be changed according to their will. Despite taking every opportunity to demonise the Venezuelan government, Western media sources have admitted that the US actively tries to destabilise Venezuela.
- In 2002, following a failed coup, the US government admitted "that US officials had held a series of meetings in recent months with Venezuelan military officers and opposition activists" and that "a few weeks before the coup attempt, administration officials met Pedro Carmona, the business leader who took over the interim government" - The Guardian
- "The failed coup in Venezuela was closely tied to senior officials in the US government" who are said to "have long histories in the 'dirty wars' of the 1980s, and links to death squads working in Central America at that time." In the 1970s and 1980s, the US had "put a priority on combating Marxism in the Americans," a policy which had "led to the coup in Chile in 1973, and the sponsorship of regimes and death squads that followed it in Argentina, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and elsewhere." - The Guardian
- Hugo Chavez "frequently and famously accused the United States of covertly trying to overthrow him, but only after his death did evidence emerge to support" his claims which were dismissed as "paranoid" before. - Foreign Policy
Nicolas Maduro also occasionally accuses the US of intervention in Venezuela. His concerns about US involvement in coup attempts are often dismissed by Western media, and he is painted as paranoid and irrational. There is a lot of evidence that his concerns and fears are quite valid.
- "The political upheaval witnessed in Venezuela is the continuation of a long destabilization plot by the US against popular Left-leaning governments in Latin America." - Pambazuka News
- "The head of the CIA has suggested the agency is working to change the elected government of Venezuela and is collaborating with two countries in the region to do so," His exact words were that he was "hopeful that there can be a transition in Venezuela and we the CIA is doing its best to understand the dynamic there" - The Independent
- In 2018, the US President "has himself suggested possible military intervention in Venezuela, though that was widely rejected in Latin America," and the Secretary of State "referred to the 1823 Monroe Doctrine, which is widely seen in Latin America as a justification for U.S. armed intervention in the region" - Reuters
- In June 2018, a US media source openly admitted that there was a US-backed attempt at a coup in Venezuela; "The failed coup attempt — involving dozens of officers from across all four branches of his military — was timed to thwart Maduro's re-election on May 20" - Bloomberg
- In July 2018, it was revealed that the US president has "repeatedly raised the idea of the US invading Venezuela in discussions with his senior aides and leaders of other South American countries" - Telegraph
- "President Donald Trump reportedly floated the idea of invading Venezuela to both senior administration officials and world leaders multiple times in the past year." - Business Insider
- "President Nicolas Maduro has urged his armed forces to be on guard following news reports in the United States that a year ago US President Donald Trump raised the possibility of invading Venezuela." Maduro was alluding "to reports in the US press which said that last August, Trump asked foreign policy advisers about the possibility of invading Venezuela, which the Trump administration has derided as a corrupt, left-wing dictatorship. In the oval office during a meeting about sanctions the US has imposed on oil-rich Venezuela, Trump turned to his top aides and asked: With a fast unravelling Venezuela threatening regional security, why can't the US just simply invade the troubled country?" - Al Jazeera
- "The initial discussion, which took place with the then US secretary of state Rex Tillerson and national security adviser Herbert McMaster among others, resulted in aides taking turns to explain why military action was not a good idea. They argued that bringing up the topic could risk losing hard-won support among Latin American governments to punish President Nicolas Maduro for taking Venezuela down the path of dictatorship. Mr Trump apparently argued the case and pointed to what he considered past cases of successful gunboat diplomacy in the region, according to the official, like the invasions of Panama and Grenada in the 1980s." Nevertheless, the US president "raised the issue with Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos, two high-ranking Colombian officials and the US official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Then in September, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Mr Trump discussed it again, this time at greater length, in a private dinner with leaders from four Latin American allies that included Mr Santos and the same three officials, it was reported." He "went around asking each leader if they were sure they didn’t want a military solution, according to the official, who added that each leader told Mr Trump in clear terms they were sure." - The Independent
After there was admission that the US is involved in Venezuela with intentions to overthrow the government, and that it is working with 2 other countries in the region to do so, there was an assassination attempt against Nicolas Maduro in the first week of August 2018. The Venezuelan government has blamed the attack on persons who are based in Colombia and the USA. Juan Manuel Santos (the outgoing president of Colombia) as well as Nikki Haley (the USA's ambassador to the UN) have both hit out at Maduro and dismissed his suspicious. As usual, he is painted as paranoid and irrational, but there is solid ground for his suspicions and claims.
- "Authorities have arrested 10 suspects whom they accuse of involvement backed by support from neighboring Colombia as well as from people living in the United States." - Times of India
- "The drone incident came just days after Santos told AFP Maduro's days were numbered." - AFP
- "Members of the armed forces were planning a coup against Mr. Maduro when they were arrested in March" and "several other coup attempts have also been thwarted by the president’s intelligence services over the past year" - Wall Street Journal
- Some conspiracy theorists claim that the assassination attempt against Nicolas Maduro was staged by the government to justify a crackdown, but even "the assistant director for Venezuela at the Washington Office on Latin America" has "dismissed the notion that" the attack was a "false flag" event. - The Guardian
- Another "senior fellow at the Washington Office on Latin America who has spent decades researching Venezuela, said the incident did not appear to be a staged attack by Mr Maduro's Government for political gain." - ABC News
- Maduro has accused foreign governments and diaspora of being involved. While persons cast doubts on his reasonable suspicions, "a Brazil-based resistance leader" who left Venezuela a year before the attack seems to have knowledge of the intentions of the attack, saying that "he supported the action – although claimed it was designed to scare and humiliate Maduro not kill him." - BBC News
- "This past April, a number of Venezuelan military dissidents were holed up in neighboring Colombia plotting to overthrow the government of President Nicolas Maduro when they were approached by a group with similar plans." One of the groups "showed videos of armed drones shipped from Miami and being tested on a Colombian farm." In early August, "when Maduro was speaking at a military parade in Caracas, drones packed with plastic explosives detonated nearby in a failed assassination attempt. A participant in the April Bogota meeting said in an interview that he believes the people his group met with were the perpetrators." - Bloomberg
- "President Trump was considering an array of options, including military action" and "Trump had pressed aides on the possibility of invading Venezuela during a meeting in the Oval Office in Aug. 2017. Maduro in August escaped unharmed in an attack by explosive-laden drones that wounded officers and sent soldiers scurrying during a military parade in Caracas." It was then revealed that "a number of Venezuelan military dissidents plotted in neighboring Colombia to overthrow Maduro, and met there with a second group, comprised mostly of civilians, who wanted to assassinate him." - Time
- It was eventually confirmed that the drone incident was an attempted assassination against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. John Bolton (the US National Security Adviser) and Juan Guaidó (an opposition politician who attempted a coup against Nicolas Maduro months later) both claimed that the drone incident was staged by Maduro to provide justification for a crackdown. The organiser of the drone attack had "told CNN that Colombia was not involved" but said that he had "met with several US officials three times after the attack" - CNN
- A month after the assassination attempt against Maduro, it was revealed that "The Trump administration held secret meetings with rebellious military officers from Venezuela over the last year to discuss their plans to overthrow President Nicolás Maduro, according to American officials and a former Venezuelan military commander who participated in the talks. Establishing a clandestine channel with coup plotters in Venezuela was a big gamble for Washington, given its long history of covert intervention across Latin America. Many in the region still deeply resent the United States for backing previous rebellions, coups and plots in countries like Cuba, Nicaragua, Brazil and Chile, and for turning a blind eye to the abuses military regimes committed during the Cold War." At the end of the day, "American officials eventually decided not to help the plotters, and the coup plans stalled. But the Trump administration’s willingness to meet several times with mutinous officers intent on toppling a president in the hemisphere" shows that the US government was at least aware that such things were being planned, and that it was willing to entertain such ideas and engage the persons who had them. - New York Times
- "US officials met secretly with Venezuelan military officers who were plotting a coup against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, both a current and a former US official confirmed to CNN. American officials met with the renegade Venezuelan military officers several times over the last year after the Venezuelan officers made contact" - CNN
- On September 21, 2018, the US said that it "was preparing a 'series of actions' in the coming days to increase pressure on the Venezuelan government" - Reuters and CNBC
In January 2019, the US orchestrated a coup attempt in Venezuela, aiming to install Juan Guaidó as president.
- On January 2, 2019, The American "Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed Venezuela with Brazil's new right-wing government on Wednesday in the context of what he termed a joint-front against" Left countries like "Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua as countries that do not have shared democratic values." - Business Insider
- In early January 2019, the US Secretary of State "described Venezuela’s government under President Nicolas Maduro as illegitimate on Saturday and said the United States would work with like-minded countries in Latin America to restore democracy there." - Reuters
- Just like it did with Pedro Carmona in the 2002 coup against Hugo Chavez, the US already handpicked someone to install as president of Venezuela; "In a statement earlier on Saturday, the US State Department also said it stood behind the head of Venezuela's opposition-run congress, Juan Guaidó, a day after he said he was prepared to step into the presidency temporarily to replace Maduro." Guaidó then "said he would need support from the public, the armed forces and other countries and international groups, before trying to form a transitional government." Luis Almagro, the head of the OAS, then "responded quickly, sending out a tweet recognising Guaidó as Venezuela's interim president." - Al Jazeera
- In late January, the person that was handpicked by the US had declared himself as the new president of Venezuela; specific countries recognised his presidency almost immediately, which seemed to be a spontaneous recognition in response to an emergency, but was really a plot that "came together over weeks of secret diplomacy" - the person who is trying to claim presidency in Venezuela had "quietly traveled to Washington, Colombia and Brazil to brief officials on the opposition’s strategy" in mid-December. - Associated Press
- "Donald Trump has promptly recognised formerly-unknown quantity Juan Guaidó as his interim president of Venezuela. Without taking the trouble to wait for elections, Guaidó proclaimed himself president" despite the fact that most persons "had never heard of Mr Guaidó" before his self-declaration. - The Independent
- "No matter how you slice it, an attempted coup is underway in Venezuela. Here are the basics: On Wednesday, Juan Guaidó, a relatively unknown second-string politician from the right-wing Popular Will party, simply declared himself acting president. Guaidó was not elected president—Nicolás Maduro was" - The Nation
- At a press conference at the White House, John Bolton had a notepad with "5000 troops to Colombia" written on it, hinting at US deployment of troops in Colombia to take military action against Venezuela. When the White House was asked about the suspicious note, they responded that "all options are still on the table." - Washington Post, ABC, CBS
- Mike Pence and Marco Rubio accused the Venezuelan government of burning trucks that were trying to forcefully enter Venezuela through the Colombian border, which "led to broad condemnation of the Venezuelan government." Marco Rubio and Juan Guaidó claimed that the trucks contained medicine, and they claimed that the Venezuelan president "ordered medication set on fire during the border standoff" but the claim "appears to be unsubstantiated" as USAID "did not list medicine among its donations. A top opposition official on the bridge that day told The Times that the burned shipment contained medical supplies like face masks and gloves, but not medicine." Additionally, the fire was not set by the Venezuelan government; "The opposition itself, not Mr. Maduro’s men, appears to have set the cargo alight" as video evidence "suggests that a Molotov cocktail thrown by an antigovernment protester was the most likely trigger for the blaze." However, "the footage distributed by the Colombian government removes the 13-minute period before the fire begins. Officials from Mr. Duque’s office did not release the full video after repeated requests from The Times." After reviewing the videos, the New York Times concluded that the fire was most likely caused by the opposition, not the Venezuelan government. - New York Times
- In February 2019, heavily armed rogue Venezuelan soldiers planned to invade Venezuela from Colombia, similar to Cuban exiles doing the same at the Bay of Pigs in 1961. "The plan was stopped by the Colombian government, which learned of it late and feared violent clashes at a highly public event it promised would be peaceful." - Bloomberg
- The CBC admitted that there has been a "propaganda fight" including the coverage of US attempts to forcefully deliver aid to Venezuela. For example, US officials and media accused the Venezuelan government of closing a road that has "never been open" in the first place.
- American politicians blamed the Venezuelan government for a major power outage in February 2019. The Venezuelan government said that it was possible that the US had caused the outage as an act of sabotage to stir discontent. "In the case of Venezuela, the idea of a government like the United States remotely interfering with its power grid is actually quite realistic." An analyist says that the power outage could be attributed to the Venezuelan government instead of the US, however noting "operations are designed to silently nudge a country towards a particular outcome. Aging utilities infrastructures offer a perfect vehicle for such operations, since the blame for grid failures typically falls upon government officials for failing to adequately oversee that infrastructure, even when it is owned and maintained by private companies. Cyberattacks against utilities have the ability to disrupt all facets of modern life and generate mediagenic imagery without undue risk to the initiating country, making them an almost perfect weapon" as "the inability to definitively discount U.S. or other foreign intervention, whether deliberate or accidental, demonstrates the incredible power of using cyberattacks to target utilities. Such outages can quickly turn a population against its government while making it almost impossible to definitively prove foreign intervention." - Forbes
- During the blackout, Juan Guaidó tweeted that "Venezuela is clear that the light will return with the end of usurpation." - Time
- Juan Guaidó eerily promised that "light would return" specifically "once Mr Maduro was removed from power." - BBC
- The official position of the revolutionary government of Cuba is that the blackout was a result of sabotage by the USA: "The Revolutionary Government strongly condemns the sabotage perpetrated against the power supply system in Venezuela, which is a terrorist action intended to harm the defenseless population of an entire nation and turn it into a hostage of the non-conventional war launched by the government of the United States against the legitimate government headed by comrade Nicolás Maduro Moros and the civic and military union of the Bolivarian and Chavista people." - Cuba MinREX
After seeing that the US has intentions of destabilising Venezuela, the next step to uncovering their plot is to understand the impacts of specific actions that they take, especially sanctions. Opposition to the Venezuelan government is neither organic nor popular; it is intentionally engineered by the USA's actions.
- "It is all too obvious that the intention of the sanctions has been to asphyxiate the Venezuelan economy in the expectation that the Venezuelan people or the Venezuelan military will topple the Maduro government." - The Independent
- Sanctions have had the potential to totally destroy Venezuela's economy and force them to offer much cheaper oil out of desperation; "sanctions on the oil-dependent state's crude industry would force Caracas to offer steep discounts in a desperate search for new buyers" - CNBC
- The former Secretary of the UN Human Rights Council said that sanctions "fall most heavily on the poorest people in society, demonstrably cause death through food and medicine shortages, lead to violations of human rights and are aimed at coercing economic change" and said that the sanctions against Venezuela are a form of economic warfare that is killing Venezuelans. "Despite being the first UN official to visit and report from Venezuela in 21 years, Mr de Zayas said his research into the causes of the country’s economic crisis has so far largely been ignored by the UN and the media, and caused little debate within the Human Rights Council. He believes his report has been ignored because it goes against the popular narrative that Venezuela needs regime change." - The Independent
- In March 2019, the US government discussed "imposing financial sanctions that could prohibit Visa Inc , Mastercard Inc and other financial institutions from processing transactions in Venezuela" which "would aim broadly to block state-owned financial institutions’ access to the international financial system, including credit card providers" - Reuters
Cuba strongly condemns the aggression against Venezuela. The USA is trying to make life harder in Venezuela in hopes that the people will overthrow the government. The USA has admitted trying to do this in Cuba.
- The Granma, the reputable publication of the Communist Party of Cuba, did an article on 10 specific ways that the US aims to undermine the Venezuelan government; these were all identified within a span of 48 hours. Venezuela "faces a wave of interference in its internal affairs" - Granma
- Sometimes sanctions are mistakenly understood to be against specific individuals only. While some such sanctions exist, there have also been "restrictions on international trade which harm the people" by making it more difficult for Venezuela to export its products and to import well-needed supplies. - Granma
- The Communist Party of Cuba condemned an executive order that was signed and extended by Barack Obama, which "demonstrates that the intervention in the internal affairs of the Venezuelan people has not changed, and that the aim of overthrowing the Bolivarian Revolution remains in full force" - Granma
- "Economic war, sabotage, low oil prices, international sanctions, and political violence. Any president prior to the arrival of Hugo Chávez to the Miraflores Presidential Palace would have succumbed in just a few days faced with an attack such as that experienced by the government of Nicolás Maduro." - Granma
Venezuela has a policy of internationalism. Venezuela's natural resources have been used to generate wealth which benefits both the Venezuelan masses and the people of the Caribbean. Sanctions against Venezuela have already started to affect the Caribbean, and things could get worse. Economic warfare is being waged against the people of Venezuela, to punish them for continuing to support their government. People in the Caribbean are caught in the crossfire.
- Noticing the potential crisis, the US intends to exploit it to make the Caribbean more dependent on American oil; "the United States, Mexico and Canada are already studying how to mitigate the impact on the Caribbean and oil refiners if the U.S. decides to sanction Venezuelan oil" - Reuters
- There are people leaving Venezuela to live in Trinidad & Tobago as economic refugees; this is often used to claim that Venezuela's government is incompetent. However, an article explains that the economic difficulties that are causing people to leave Venezuela are largely due to sanctions. The article also mentions effects of sanctions on Russia and the USA's trade war with China. - LSE
- It is well-known that much of Venezuela's national wealth comes from its oil. Sanctions against Venezuela's oil industry are intended to make life for Venezuelans harder, so that they will be dissatisfied with their government. An article admits that "efforts to isolate President Nicolas Maduro are increasingly straining the country's oil industry" and that "broader oil sanctions are considered unwise by many, in part because of the impact they would have on ordinary Venezuelans" - Business Insider
- Jamaica's Energy Minister said that "The current geo-political situation endangers us. We are feeling the effects of the sanctions placed on Venezuela last year because it has caused us hardship transacting business" - The Gleaner
- "So far, the sanctions have cost the Jamaican Government $12.6 billion, or 14 per cent of what it is spending on public debt." Jamaica is reliant on imports for energy; we import crude oil and refine it ourselves so that it can be distributed to the people. Sanctions are "making it tough for the refinery to access funds to purchase its products" which may eventually result in fuel shortages in the country. - Jamaica Observer
- After admitting that the sanctions against Venezuela have caused Jamaica to lose billions of dollars, and that the state refinery is having difficulty purchasing its products, the government of Jamaica said that recent rises in fuel prices are partly due to "international political issues." - JIS
- In March 2019, Donald Trump invited "Prime Minister Andrew Holness and the leaders of four other Caribbean countries" to "thank the leaders for their support" for "a US-backed resolution at the Organization of American States not to recognise the legitimacy of the current term of Venezuelan president, Nicolas Maduro." The agenda involved "cooperation on security and trade issues" including "potential opportunities for energy investment." - The Gleaner
Artificial Food Shortages
Apart from overt sanctions, economic warfare against the Venezuelan people is also done through underhand measures like food hoarding. Similar practices had occurred in Jamaica and Mozambique, to destabilise the governments under Michael Manley and Samora Machel; food was hidden in warehouses or buried underground, while people panicked about empty retail shelves. This can then be used to say that "Venezuelan people are starving" and then the government is blamed and accused of being incompetent. The intention of manufacturing this panic is to get the people to resent the conditions that they live in, so that they can blame the government. After manufacturing this panic, the retailers exploit the people by releasing small amounts of goods at very high prices. Some analysts blame the government for implementing price controls which limit profit margins. This only shows that capital is waging a war against Venezuela, prioritising the maximisation of profit over the livelihood of the people by counting profit margins as a "production cost" - when they don't meet the high profit margins they aim for, they say that the government is forcing them to sell below production cost.
- This type of sabotage was used against Hugo Chavez as well, not just Nicolas Maduro. The government implemented price controls to ensure that the poorest and most vulnerable Venezuelans could afford food. "In 2008, when there was another serious wave of food scarcity, most people blamed shop owners for hoarding food as a mechanism to exert pressure on the government's price controls, a measure that former president Hugo Chávez adopted as part of his self-styled socialist revolution." - The Guardian
- "Venezuela’s price controls have created tensions with foreign companies since their 2003 introduction by late socialist leader Hugo Chavez, but in those days most disputes were resolved quietly through discrete price increases to compensate for inflation." A particular company said that it "would not accept regulations on the price of soft drinks" and that it "would shut down if the prices were regulated." The company eventually "agreed to stop increasing the price of bottled water, which is covered by price regulations, while it continues to raise soft drink prices" - Reuters
If Venezuela didn't produce much food, there wouldn't be a crisis of smuggling. Western media focuses heavily on the fact that the Venezuelan government implements price controls, but there is rarely mention that the government also subsidises food. The government subsidises food production, which is why it implements price controls; if it didn't implement price controls, producers could take advantage of the subsidies to increase their profits rather than offering lower prices for the people. Some persons take advantage of the cheap prices of Venezuelan food, and smuggle this food into Colombia where it can be sold for a much higher price. This food smuggling is contributing to shortages in retail outlets, since it is being diverted from feeding the Venezuelan people to making a profit in Colombia.
- "in recent years it’s ordinary goods like gasoline or oranges or diapers that make their way from Venezuela to Colombia" because "the strong price controls that the Venezuelan government has applied to many basic goods has made it extremely profitable to buy just about anything cheaply in Venezuela, and smuggle it into neighboring Colombia, where no such price controls exist" - Time
- It is believed that "more than 40% of goods purchased in Venezuela – including medicines and basic food stuff – are smuggled out of the country. Price controls and heavy subsidies mean goods purchased in Venezuela can often fetch close to four times their original price if taken to neighbouring countries." - The Guardian
- "Price controls and heavy subsidies allow Venezuelans to buy groceries, drive them across the border to Colombia, and resell them for a handsome profit" and "product shortages, which create long lines and at times leave store shelves bare, are driven by smuggling that diverts at least 40 percent of food and medicine to other countries." - Reuters
When Venezuelans cross the Colombian border to buy food, it is not unlikely that they are buying Venezuelan food that has been smuggled there.
Guyanese Border Dispute
Venezuela's border dispute with Guyana has more to do with US oil interests than Guyana itself. An American oil company, ExxonMobil, has been exploring the area for oil, with increased activity in recent years. If the border dispute is ruled in Guyana's favour, any oil in the region will benefit the pockets of Americans rather than Guyanese people; foreign companies have been exploiting Guyana's natural resources for a long time, and some Guyanese people are sceptical of how much the Guyanese people will benefit from foreign companies extracting oil. ExxonMobil has bad relations with Venezuela because the Venezuelan government (under Hugo Chavez at the time) demanded that foreign oil companies pay more for the oil that they extract from the country; all oil companies except ExxonMobil complied, so ExxonMobil was kicked out.
This is why ExxonMobil is 'funding' Guyana's claims to disputed territory with Venezuela. The dispute is an investment for ExxonMobil, and they will expect returns on their investment if Guyana wins the dispute. Regardless of what position you take on the border dispute, it should be very suspicous that 2 US oil companies (ExxonMobil and Hess) have such a vested interest in it. Before ExxonMobil was kicked out of Venezuela, it didn't care which country controlled the disputed territory as long as it was allowed in both countries.
- "Rex Tillerson hadn't been CEO of ExxonMobil very long when the late president Hugo Chavez made foreign oil companies in Venezuela an offer they couldn't refuse. Give the government a bigger cut, or else. Most of the companies took the deal. Tillerson refused. Chavez responded in 2007 by nationalizing ExxonMobil's considerable assets in the country, which the company valued at $10 billion. The losses were a big blow to Tillerson" - but "Just five days after former military general David Granger was elected president of the South American nation of Guyana, unseating the country’s long-ruling leftist party, ExxonMobil made a big announcement." - They had found oil in the sea, but "Venezuela claimed the waters — and the hydrocarbons beneath them — as its own." The border dispute has existed "for more than 100 years." - Washington Post
- "Beyond the dollars and cents, the contract gives Guyana a powerful new ally — ExxonMobil is now tethered to the country for years to come — and that relationship is already influencing Guyanese foreign policy." During the presidency of "Chávez, tensions between Venezuela and Guyana had eased" but "ExxonMobil, for its part, has been fighting with Venezuela over the late President Hugo Chávez’s decision to expropriate its assets in the country in 2007." Recently, "Guyana took its case regarding the border to the International Court of Justice, seeking an end to the controversy. It plans to use up to $15 million it received from ExxonMobil and its partners to pay for lawyers arguing its case. The company’s spokesman declined to comment on Guyana’s border disputes." - Foreign Policy
- "The Government of Guyana could be getting help from US oil giant ExxonMobil, in its efforts to have a judicial settlement of the border controversy with Venezuela. According to News Source Guyana, Government sources have reported that the company has set aside just under US$20 million to assist Guyana with legal fees and other costs that could be incurred once Guyana moves to have the judicial settlement of the border controversy." - Jamaica Observer
- "In recent years, the State Department has been trying to prepare Guyana for its potential oil rush with a program that advises the government on how to draft environmental regulations, financial arrangements and other forms of oversight." Such advice may involve keeping environmental regulations and labour laws weak to beefit American investors. "Environmentalists have cautioned that involvement with the Guyana project will create a conflict of interest for Mr. Tillerson" - New York Times
- "Many Guyanese say Exxon’s deal disproportionately benefits the company and its minority partners" and that the deal would be "leaving little for this country of miners and farmers on horse-drawn carts." Some "critics said the government should have demanded better terms when Exxon renewed the contract in 2016." One of the terms is that ExxonMobil won't pay taxes on its profits; while profits that go abroad will go untaxed, "the oil companies’ local taxes are paid from the country’s share of the profits, cutting into Guyana’s take." The company is also investing in the border dispute, as "an $18 million signing bonus from Exxon will pay the country’s legal fees, as President David Granger’s government tries to resolve Venezuela’s century-old border claim" - Wall Street Journal
- "The South American nation, with no history of oil production, has become one of the world’s most closely watched oil basins after Exxon Mobil discovered more than 4 billion barrels of oil in recent years." The Guyanese government was later ousted by a vote of no confidence, as "The opposition accused the government of taking a bad deal with Exxon" - Reuters
- Despite the fact that "Guyana’s parliament toppled the government in a no-confidence vote" on December 21, because of a bad deal with ExxonMobil, ExxonMobil's ships continued to operate in the disputed waters and ended up in a confrontation with Venezuelan naval vessels. - Reuters
US intervention in Nicaragua was heaviest in the 1980s, when the US government armed and funded terrorists to murder Nicaraguans and to try to topple the Socialist government. Bloody internal conflict raged on in Nicaragua for years, but peace has been there since the 1990s. The Sandinistas, the Socialist revolutionaries who took power in 1979, have allowed free and fair elections, including ones in which they have lost. They have been in power again since 2006, winning 3 elections; they won the last 2 elections by landslide.
In April 2018, the government estimated that the pension system would run into debt in a few years unless it had better funded or provided less benefits. The government suggested that workers' contributions to the pension fund should increase by 0.75% and that employers' contributions should increase by 3.25%. The proposal was rejected, mainly by businesses and the opposition; the IMF instead suggested that the retirement age should be raised by 5 years, a proposal which the government rejected. There has been unrest since this impasse.
Even when the government withdrew the proposal to increase pension contributions, there has been an unrelenting call for it to resign for the sake of resigning. It became obvious, then, that this was not about the pension system. Long before this unrest over pensions, the "NICA Act" - which is seen as hostile to Nicaragua - has been discussed in the US. The bill and its supporters mention that its function is to "promote Democracy" in Nicaragua, a term typically associated with regime change. The recent unrest is only the culmination of a long-term plan to destabilise the Nicaraguan government.
- "The NICA Act is sponsored by none other than Ros-Lehtinen" who praises the right-wing dictatorship in Honduras while insisting that the NICA Act will "promote Democracy" in Nicaragua. - Al Jazeera
- "Congress members, first in the House of Representatives and later the Senate, introduced a bill to create obstacles to the awarding of international loans to Nicaragua, hamper foreign investment, and put a brake on socio-economic development in the country." - Granma
- "If approved, the potential impact of the NICA Act on public finances could be significant if it affects investment and growth, and rates on public debt" - IMF
In addition to external pressure from the USA and the IMF, there are well-armed agents within Nicaragua who are stirring up trouble. It is puzzling that they find the time and resources to arm themselves so well and maintain blockades; this is an obviously organised effort, not a popular spontaneous uprising.
- "U.S. strategists, who rack their brains in search of ways to end progressive governments, continue to use the same script in the quest to achieve their objectives. This is why it is so important to know, study and take into account the experiences of different countries besieged by sinister imperialist initiatives. One cannot afford to lose one’s bearings because the enemy, from outside and from within, employs significant resources and all possible means to overthrow governments, create chaos and fuel ungovernability. What is happening today in Nicaragua is part of that same script conceived in Washington and promoted, generally, from Miami." - Granma
- "Masked individuals, armed with homemade mortars and bazookas, block avenues, close the main streets, attack state institutions, burn tires, start fires, loot and kill. To date, approximately 170 people have died as a result of the chaos and violence in Nicaragua. A powerful media campaign follows the events and more than that, openly promotes, falsifies, and multiples them. The violent acts are presented as peaceful demonstrations by students, and the press publishes photos of those supposedly killed by the Sandinista government, but just as the truth will come out, the deception is discovered. Several have complained, demonstrating that the supposed dead are actually alive." - Granma
- A coalition of businessmen and upper-middle class students, calling itself "the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy, aims to create a generation of leaders from outside the ruling Sandinista movement and discredited opposition parties" in Nicaragua. For the sake of peace and stability, the Nicaraguan government has tried to make minor concessions to appease the private sector and the opposition, but now "In the end, the business lobby understood that they had to break all ties with" the government and that they had to "adopt a more aggressive position" in how it interacts with the government. It is clear that the opposition against the Nicaraguan government is from a certain class. - Reuters
- "Public buildings and the houses of government supporters were burnt down by protesters; shops were ransacked; most businesses and all banks and schools were closed. The main secondary school for 3,700 pupils was burnt out twice. The police station was under siege for 45 days, so no police were on patrol. No cars or taxis could use the streets; passing the barricades on foot involved being checked by youths with weapons and on occasion threatened. Dissent was met with violence (before the barricades went up, I took part in a 'peace' march which was pelted with stones). At first protesters had homemade mortars, but later many acquired more serious weapons such as AK-47s; paid troublemakers manned the barricades at night-time. A police official captured nearby was tortured and then killed, his body burnt at a barricade." - The Guardian
There was a coup in Paraguay in 2012, ousting President Fernando Lugo. He was held responsible for the deaths from a clash between police and farmers, despite not ordering the operation against the farmers, and despite setting up a commission to investiate the incident. His impeachment was supiciously rushed, and his successor abolished the commission that was responsible for investigating the deaths during the clash. Mainstream media sources say that there was no evidence of US involvement, but the US had no problem recognising the new government; this is ironic, considering the US sometimes refuses to recognise other countries' election results.
- There was a dispute over the ownership and use of a particular property in a region called Curuguaty, and an opposition member of Congress "pressured for an eviction on behalf of" another opposition member and a particular company. Farmers occupied the land in protest, and "security forces were deployed to Curuguaty in unprecedented numbers" - the incident "became known as the Curuguaty Massacre" and Lugo was blamed and impeached. The day after Lugo was impeached, the new president "dissolved an independent committee formed by Lugo to investigate the Curuguaty massacre." - Al Jazeera
- Lugo was seen as an enemy to foreign corporate interests. "Lugo and his cabinet resisted the use of Monsanto's transgenic cotton seeds in Paraguay, a move that likely contributed to his ouster." There were also "discussions that had stalled under the Lugo government due to the controversial economic and environmental implications of the company's plans for Paraguay." - Al Jazeera
- The "neighboring nations objected to the fast-track removal of President Fernando Lugo" and it "was criticized by its neighbors as an 'institutional coup' that threatened democracies around the region." - Fox News
- "The Obama administration did not consider Lugo's ouster a coup, and unlike Paraguay's neighbours, recognised the new government." Lugo was said to have upset the US by having "ties to Chavez and by rejecting bilateral military exercises with the US." - Al Jazeera
- Hugo Chavez "likened the events in Paraguay to the forcible removal of Manuel Zelaya in Honduras. It’s an interesting comparison since Zelaya, like Lugo, lost his position under similarly mysterious circumstances in 2009." At the time, it was said that "Though Honduran conservatives were certainly aligned with the interests of the U.S. right and defense establishment, it’s difficult to prove any close or orchestrated collaboration between the two during the Zelaya coup" - but we now know that the US was involved in the coup in Honduras, so it is very likely that they were involved in the coup in Paraguay. - Huffington Post
- "It is increasingly clear that his ouster was facilitated by entities in Paraguay who not only wanted him gone from the moment he was elected, but who enjoyed financial support from the United States. The US Agency for International Development renewed its investments in the country after Lugo took power, with much of the funds going to the same forces that would uphold his impeachment. Internal correspondence between the State Department and USAID suggests that rather than showing concern over the circumstances leading up to Lugo's overthrow — including the massacre in Curuguaty — US officials instead showed eagerness to work with those who replaced him." - The Nation
In 2006, Manuel Zelaya was elected as president of Honduras. While in office, he shifted to the Left and embraced other progressive leaders in the region. He was ousted and exiled in a US-backed military coup in 2009.
- "Clinton admits that she used the power of her office to make sure that Zelaya would not return to office." - Al Jazeera
- "After ousting Zelaya, the coup government sent the army and police into the streets. They began arresting, beating and even killing anyone who protested against the new government." - NPR
The coup resulted in the rise of a US-backed dictatorship.
- "Ever since the June 28, 2009, coup that deposed Honduras’s democratically elected president, José Manuel Zelaya, the country has been descending deeper into a human rights and security abyss. That abyss is in good part the State Department’s making." - New York Times
- "Berta Cáceres, a brave and outspoken indigenous Honduran environmental activist and winner of the Goldman Environmental Prize, was gunned down in her hometown of La Esperanza." Berta "is just one of thousands of indigenous activists, peasant leaders, trade unionists, journalists, environmentalists, judges, opposition political candidates, human rights activists, and others murdered since a military coup ousted the democratically elected president Manuel Zelaya in 2009." - Huffington Post
- "In 2012, as Honduras descended into social and political chaos in the wake of a US-sanctioned military coup, the civilian aid arm of Hillary Clinton’s State Department spent over $26 million on a propaganda program" - The Nation
- "In March 2012, 94 members of Congress asked the State Department "to suspend US assistance to the Honduran military and police given the credible allegations of widespread, serious violations of human rights attributed to the security forces". Less than a year later, 58 members of Congress asked for an investigationof four civilian deaths in a joint US-Honduran counter-narcotics operation gone awry. A disturbing follow-up to the initial AP reports reveals even more incriminating evidence linking the Honduran police to ongoing death squad activity." - Al Jazeera
- "The Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the Department of Defense train police forces in some Central American countries where corruption and human rights abuses have traditionally plagued civilian police forces." The US Government Accountability Office also "found that the agencies' training programs are intended to professionalize police and highlight the importance of police respect for human rights. However, State and USAID have few controls in place to ensure that the delivered training includes human rights information." - US Government Accountability Office
- "This chain of events — a coup that the United States didn’t stop, a fraudulent election that it accepted — has now allowed corruption to mushroom. The judicial system hardly functions. Impunity reigns. At least 34 members of the opposition have disappeared or been killed, and more than 300 people have been killed by state security forces since the coup," - New York Times
3 elections have been held since the coup, with US allies winning all. The most recent one, held in late 2017, was too obviously fraudulent. Nevertheless, the US rushed to recognise the results in which their allies claimed victory. They refused to recognise Venezuela's election results, even before the elections in Venezuela were held; they had no evidence that the results were fraudulent in Venezuela, but evidence that there was electoral fraud in Honduras didn't stop the from recognising and supporting the right-wing government of Honduras.
- "A US ally says he won Honduras' elections, but Hondurans aren't so sure" - The New Yorker
- "The contested November 26 vote was marred by irregularities after the vote count was abruptly halted while the opposition was ahead." - CNN
- "The vote tally had initially clearly favored opposition candidate Salvador Nasralla, a center-leftist, but it swung in favor of the incumbent after a 36-hour delay." - Reuters
- "Hernandez, a conservative supported by the United States, appeared set to lose the Nov. 26 election until an abrupt halt in the vote count and a shift in the results took victory away from his center-left rival, Salvador Nasralla." - Reuters
- "The conservative Mr. Hernández was a highly polarizing figure in Honduras as he amassed power over many of the country’s weak institutions during his first four-year term. One of them was the country’s electoral commission, which reported on election night that the main opposition candidate, Salvador Nasralla, was ahead before the electronic count stopped for a day and a half. When it resumed, the trend reversed direction to favor Mr. Hernández, and he was eventually declared the winner by about 50,000 votes." - New York Times
- "On the night of the 26 November election, Nasralla was five points ahead of Hernández with nearly 60% of the vote counted – until election authorities stopped releasing results. When the count resumed 36 hours later, Nasralla’s lead had vanished, giving Hernández a narrow win. The Honduran electoral commission, which is controlled by Hernández allies, named him the country’s next leader on Sunday." - The Guardian
- "The political crisis resulting from last year's controversial presidential elections contributes to today's mass exodus." - Al Jazeera
White supremacy has felt threatened by Haiti, ever since its revolution and subsequent declaration of independence over 200 years ago. In the 1800s, they enacted sanctions, blockades, and outright extortion of Haiti. More recently, they have engaged in military occupation, coups, and have ensured that the Haitian government makes decisions that benefit the US instead of the Haitian people. Many persons frequently make the mistake of looking down at Haitians and the conditions they live in, while ignoring the role that the US has played in ensuring that.
- Some persons claim that the US had helped Aristide to return to power in the 21st century after he was originally deposed in a coup in the 1990s, but this claim is disputed; "Aristide first was elected president in 1990. Within seven months, he was overthrown by the military and others who were later found to be paid by the US Central Intelligence Agency." - The Guardian
- "When the 'international community' blames Haiti for its political troubles, the underlying concept is usually that Haitians are not ready for democracy. But it is Washington that is not ready for democracy in Haiti. Haitians have been ready for democracy for many decades. They were ready when they got massacred at polling stations, trying to vote in 1987, after the fall of the murderous Duvalier dictatorship. They were ready again in 1990, when they voted by a two-thirds majority for the leftist Catholic priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide, only to see him overthrown seven months later in a military coup. The coup was later found to have been organized by people paid by the United States Central Intelligence Agency. Haitians were ready again, in 2000, when they elected Aristide a second time with 90% of the vote. But Washington would not accept the results of that election either, so it organized a cut-off of international aid to the government and poured millions into the opposition." - The Guardian
- The USA aimed "to block bilateral and multilateral aid to Haiti, having an objection to the policies and views of the administration of Jean-Bertrand Aristide" and "choking off assistance for development and for the provision of basic services also choked off oxygen to the government, which was the intention all along: to dislodge the Aristide administration." - Huffington Post
- In 2004, "The International Republican Institute, and its Haiti operative, Stanley Lucas, fomented a coup in Haiti that deposed its democratically elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide." - Huffington Post
- An article said that he resigned "under intense pressure from the United States" - New York Times
- A year after the coup, the US Defence Secretary said that "the hope is that he will not come back into the hemisphere and complicate the situation." - Washington Post
- "During the 29 February 2004 coup d'état, in the middle of the night, a US Navy Seal team, under the direction of American deputy ambassador Luis Moreno, kidnapped President Aristide and his wife Mildred from their home in Tabarre and flew them, under guard in an unmarked US jet, into a first stint of exile in the Central African Republic. Since then, tens of thousands from all over Haiti have taken to the streets several times each year to demand his return. During the US-appointed post-coup de facto government of Prime Minister Gérard Latortue (2004-2006), Haitian police and United Nations occupation troops regularly gunned down the demonstrators and carried out murderous assaults on Aristide strongholds in popular neighborhoods like Cité Soleil and Belair, killing dozens of residents, including women and children." - The Guardian
- "The US continued to prevent Aristide from returning for the next seven years." In March 2011, "President Barack Obama called South African President Jacob Zuma to express 'deep concerns' about Aristide's potential return, and to pressure Zuma to block the trip. Zuma, to his credit, ignored the warning. US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks reveal a concerted drive, over years, to hamper the return of Aristide to Haiti, including diplomatically punishing any country that helped Aristide, including threatening to block a UN security council seat for South Africa." - The Guardian
- "They complain of the 'occupation' of Haiti by UN troops; the fact that political prisoners, including Aristide supporters still languish behind bars while many of those who perpetrated his overthrow hold key government posts, including persons from donor countries like Canada; victims of the coup and of human rights abuses have received no justice or reparations; and Aristide is made to remain in exile." - The Gleaner
- "The country is occupied, and although the occupying troops wear blue helmets, everyone knows that Washington calls the shots. On 28 November an election was held in which the country's most popular political party was excluded; but still the results of the first round of the election were not quite right. The OAS – under direction from Washington – then changed the results to eliminate the government's candidate from the second round. To force the government to accept the OAS rewrite of the results, Haiti was threatened with a cutoff of aid flows – and, according to multiple sources, President Préval was threatened with being forcibly flown out of the country – as happened to President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 2004." - The Guardian
- "The emails released by the State Department via the Freedom of Information Act highlight that Hillary Clinton’s State Department made threats to cut aid to Haiti in addition to severing the visas of top officials in order to manipulate the 2010-2011 elections in favor of the Haitian Kompas singer and comprador Michel Martelly to replace President Rene Preval." - Huffington Post
Some persons like to talk about how Haiti receives "aid" and claim that Global North countries are genuinely helping Haiti, but evidence says otherwise. The UN is responsible for a cholera outbreak that killed tens of thousands of Haitian people, foreign soldiers and aid workers sexually abuse Haitian people (including children), and aid has become a profitable business for the countries that claim to be helping Haiti.
- UN peacekeepers are responsible for the cholera outbreak in Haiti, and finally took responsibility for it in 2016. - multiple sources (CNN, NPR, NYT, NYT, BBC, BBC)
- UN peacekeepers sexually abused Haitian people; "One mother claims she was raped while another was aged 17 when she gave birth, which amounts to statutory rape under Haitian law" but the UN has little interest in helping the victims hold the rapists accountable; "the UN itself cannot legally establish paternity or child support entitlements and, as indicated in the existing policy adopted by the general assembly, compensation is a matter of personal accountability to be determined under national legal processes." - The Guardian
- "United Nations peacekeepers have been sexually abusing women and minors in Haiti who have been in need of basic food and medical supplies – and the problem has been known for almost a decade" - The Independent
- Sometimes UN peacekeepers would offer children "cookies and other snacks. Sometimes they gave them a few dollars. But the price was high" as the "peacekeepers wanted sex from girls and boys as young as 12." It is also said that "at least 134 Sri Lankan peacekeepers exploited nine children in a sex ring from 2004 to 2007, according to an internal UN report obtained by the AP. In the wake of the report, 114 peacekeepers were sent home. None was ever imprisoned." - The Independent
- Amid claims of sexual misconduct, "children may have been among those sexually exploited by aid workers" from Oxfam. - CNN
- "Oxfam crisis spreads as Haiti suggests aid workers exploited children for sex" - Washington Post
- "Unemployment remains at 80 per cent despite the fact that recent UN and Canadian news conferences reported that the situation in Haiti was stable and improving. The average Haitian is yet to see the result of the millions of dollars provided to Haiti by the donor countries" and "The UN spends more on security in Haiti than on food for the people showing that priorities are lopsided. Haiti's prison population has doubled since 2004." - The Gleaner
- "After the January 12, 2010 earthquake, the US came to Haiti's assistance and was the largest provider of aid. But that support was also a source of frustration since much of the money was spent on US troops that responded to the immediate aftermath and later aid focused on long-term projects that appeared to have little to do with the disaster, such as the development of an industrial park in the north of the country, far from the earthquake zone." - Jamaica Observer
- "In the wake of the 2010 earthquake that claimed the lives of up to 300,000 people, more than $10 billion was pledged by the international community. Of that, only about $4 billion has been allocated, but not all of it spent. And of the money that was allocated toward economic development, Steckley says, it tends to benefit the giver more than the receiver. She cites the Caracol Industrial Park, on Haiti's northern coast, as a prime example." - CBC News
- "Fewer than half the jobs promised at the industrial park, built after 366 farmers were evicted from their lands, have materialized. Many millions of dollars earmarked for relief efforts have yet to be spent. Mrs. Clinton’s brother Tony Rodham has turned up in business ventures on the island, setting off speculation about insider deals." - New York Times
- "No doubt, the people of Haiti and Haitian-Americans are wondering where the billions in aid went missing, especially since the Clinton Foundation and its associated entities like the IHRC raised this money. As Dr. Chery explains, the labyrinth of Clinton Foundation financial transactions never resulted in an overall positive impact for the people of Haiti. In 2016, it’s important to ask Hillary Clinton where this money resides, and especially important to give Haiti the money raised to assist its recover from the 2010 earthquake." - Huffington Post
- At some point, the IMF "loaned Haiti US$24.6M in desperately needed funds" but "in order to get the IMF loan, Haiti was required to reduce tariff protections for their Haitian rice and other agricultural products and some industries to open up the country’s markets to competition from outside countries. The US has by far the largest voice in decisions of the IMF." - Starbroek News
Haiti is also a victim of neoliberalism, with free trade being imposed upon them. They have been forced to cut tariffs that protected their farmers, so that the US can flood their markets with cheap subsidised rice. Consumers then choose the cheap American rice over Haitian rice, leaving Haitian rice farmers broke and unable to develop their productive capacity to compete with rice imports. A lot of money that would have stayed in the Haitian economy now ends up in the hands of foreign producers; capital flight, like this, contributes to unemployment, poverty, and currency devaluation. This problem started in the 1980s, but has been exacerbated by Haiti's dependence on foreign assistance after facing natural disasters.
- "A leading aid agency has called on the United States to stop subsidising American rice exports to Haiti, the poorest country in the western hemisphere, because it says the policy undermines local production of food." - BBC News
- "Decades of inexpensive imports — especially rice from the U.S. — punctuated with abundant aid in various crises have destroyed local agriculture" so "for Haitians, near-total dependence on imported food has been a disaster. Cheap foreign products drove farmers off their land and into overcrowded cities. Rice, a grain with limited nutrition once reserved for special occasions in the Haitian diet, is now a staple. Imports also put the country at the mercy of international prices." In the past, "Haiti imported only 19 percent of its food and produced enough rice to export, thanks in part to protective tariffs of 50 percent." - NBC News
- "A significant portion of the economic, social and political predicament in Haiti can be traced to the decline of its agriculture sector. Up to about 30 years ago, Haiti was self sufficient in the production of rice, the varieties of which are believed to have been brought from Africa and are quite different from those varieties we plant in Guyana. The domestic production of this staple food of the Haitians started to decline in the mid-1980s mainly as a result of the adoption of trade liberalization policies imposed upon the country" where "so much American rice had invaded the country that it became unprofitable for many Haitian farmers to continue planting. The US rice farmers were enjoying subsidies totalling around US$1B per year." - Starbroek News
- Even in the 21st century, "Two subsidiaries of the same corporation, ERLY Industries, are profiting from different U.S. contracts whose interests conflict. The same company that is being paid to monitor 'food insecurity' is benefiting from policies that increase food insecurity. American Rice makes money exporting rice to Haiti, undercutting farmers’ livelihoods, national production, and food security." - Huffington Post
In addition to forcing Haiti to abolish tariffs, Americans have forced Haiti to maintain low wages so that it could be a source of cheap labour. This was clear exploitation of a society and economy that were vulnerable after natural disasters and existing economic exploitation.
- When Haiti passed a law to increase minimum wage, it "infuriated American corporations like Hanes and Levi Strauss that pay Haitians slave wages to sew their clothes. They said they would only fork over a seven-cent-an-hour increase, and they got the State Department involved. The U.S. ambassador put pressure on Haiti's president, who duly carved out a $3 a day minimum wage for textile companies" - Business Insider
- US diplomats said that wage increases "would hurt the economy and undermine U.S. trade preference legislation, known as the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement Act of 2006." - teleSUR
The height of US intervention in El Salvador was in the 1980s, not the 21st century. However, they still have an impact on the lives of many Salvadorans today.
In the 1980s, the US backed a right-wing dictatorship in El Salvador, aiding it to repress popular movements that were rising up against oppression and awful living conditions. The government engaged in a 'dirty war' which resulted in a refugee crisis that still exists today. After the dirty war, earthquakes resulted in more refugees. Many persons are internally displaced, while many others are vulnerable to the ever-changing US attitudes towards refugees and immigrants. The gang violence in El Salvador, which continues to displace people in the 21st century, cannot be disconnected from the refugee crisis.
- In the 1980s, the USA "sent military advisers to help the Salvadoran military fight its dirty war, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars in economic and military aid." The UN Truth Commission "found that more than 85 percent of the killings, kidnappings, and torture had been the work of government forces, which included paramilitaries, death squads, and army units trained by the United States." - The Nation
- In January 2018, the US Department of Homeland Security said that "nearly 200,000 people from El Salvador must leave the US in the next 18 months or change their immigration status" and this has caused panic among many Salvadorans. The "DHS said it cancelled the TPS for Salvadorans because the dangerous conditions created by the earthquakes, which killed more than 1,000 people, no longer exist." The earthquakes were in 2001, but more than a half "of Salvadorans with TPS have lived in the US for more than 20 years" which means they were refugees before the earthquake; many are likely refugees from the dirty war and its aftermath. - The Guardian
- Over the years, the US has already been deporting many Salvadorans. They lived in awful conditions in the US, leading them to be involved in gang activity and becoming "hardened on the streets of American cities and in U.S. prisons" - this crime problem, which was developed by living conditions in America, led to a situation where "violence spiked" in El Salvador after they were deported to there. The violence from American gangs being sent to El Salvador "spurred another refugee crisis, when tens of thousands of unaccompanied children fled north." - The New Yorker
- The US has exploited the refugee crisis. Many Salvadorans who get deported can barely speak Spanish, but they can speak fluent English because they grew up in the USA. El Salvador has a lower minimum wage than the USA, and tens of thousands of people who are ripe to be exploited by American Capitalists. "Drawn by low operating costs, generous tax incentives, and proximity to the U.S., more than ten major call-center firms now operate in El Salvador, employing some twenty thousand people. Deportations from the U.S. have fuelled the industry by bringing an influx of English-speaking job-seekers. Anzora was one of twenty thousand Salvadorans deported in 2007. Since President Obama took office, in 2009, the U.S. has deported 2.7 million people, more than during any previous Administration. A hundred and fifty-two thousand of them are Salvadoran, and roughly twenty per cent have spent at least five years in the U.S. They generally speak fluent and idiomatic English—the most crucial requirement for call-center work. Their next most important quality is their desperation." - The New Yorker
- MS-13 is responsible for a lot of the gang violence in El Salvador which has forced persons to flee, however "MS-13 began not in El Salvador but in Los Angeles, in the nineteen-eighties. Salvadoran refugees were fleeing a civil war at home, and they arrived in inner-city neighborhoods controlled by Mexican and black street gangs. Some of the Salvadorans formed groups of their own, largely in self-defense, and over time they became increasingly aggressive. After the civil war ended, in the early nineties, the U.S. government deported the gang members en masse; within a few years, they had spread across Central America." - The New Yorker
- "The U.S.-fueled war drove tens of thousands of Salvadorans to flee the violence for safety in the United States. In the mid-90s, Clinton allowed their “temporary protected status” to expire. This decision contributed to the gang violence that marks El Salvador today—not long ago, when a day passed without a murder, it was banner news. Thousands of the refugees sent back were young men, who had either deserted from the army or the guerrillas during the war. And when they got back to El Salvador, with little beyond their fighting skills, they formed the nucleus of the gangs." - The Atlantic
- "A gloomy group of men and women watch in silence as a truckload of armed soldiers slowly drive past the basketball court where they are living in makeshift plastic shelters. This encampment in Caluco, a small town 40 miles west of the capital, San Salvador, is home to about 70 people from a nearby farming community, forced to flee their homes after a recent escalation of gang violence. It is El Salvador’s first camp for internally displaced people since the 12-year civil war, when an estimated one million people were forcibly displaced and 80,000 killed." - The Guardian
The US is an ally of the Republic of China (also known as Taiwan), which once controlled all of mainland China. A civil war was won by the Communists who established the People's Republic of China, while the right-wing government fled to Taiwan.
Taiwan is the only part of China which is controlled by the Republic of China, while the government in Beijing identifies itself as the People's Republic of China. The rocky relationship between these 2 governments makes it difficult to maintain ties with both, as recognising one implies that you don't recognise the other.
El Salvador had recognised the Republic of China (Taiwan), until recently when they decided to recognise the People's Republic of China instead. In response, the US wants to punish El Salvador.
- "The United States is “deeply disappointed” by El Salvador’s decision to break diplomatic ties with Taiwan in favor of China and is reviewing its relationship with San Salvador as a result, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department said on Tuesday." - Reuters
#ElSalvador is under the control of a Pro-Maduro Pro-Ortega & Pro-#China leftist government that is always against the U.S. on everything. Why should we keep sending them so much foreign aid? Today I will begin work to end that. https://t.co/7Xcw4rhIUd— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) August 21, 2018
Marco Rubio complains that El Salvador is "pro-Ortega" - ironically, Nicaragua maintains ties with both the People's Republic of China and Taiwan. In any case, it is one thing to be critical of a country's foreign policy, but what the US is doing is trying to do is to coerce El Salvador for not bowing down to it in international politics.
Bolivia has been a bastion of anti-imperialism, since the election of Evo Morales in 2006. Like other progressive governments in the region, he has sought to nationalise resources to ensure that their wealth benefits the people rather than an elite minority in the country or foreign neo-colonial Capitalists. His government has stood in solidarity with other anti-imperialist governments and movements worldwide, and Bolivia remains one of the major critics of US foreign policy in the UN and other international spaces like the OAS. We must be vigilant, and watch what the US might do to sabotage Bolivia.
#Bolivia | The #UnitedStates is once again trying to interfere in the sovereignty of a Latin American country. This time, trying to prevent the re-election of Bolivian President Evo Morales. pic.twitter.com/Rwpt4zz3wI— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) July 26, 2018
#Bolivia | The #UnitedStates is once again trying to interfere in the sovereignty of a Latin American country. This time, trying to prevent the re-election of Bolivian President Evo Morales. pic.twitter.com/Rwpt4zz3wI— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) July 26, 2018
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