Decisions made by the President of the United States and actions taken by his government regarding the dictatorial regimes of Cuba and Venezuela highlight the new features of a new U.S. Foreign Policy for Latin America. The announcement of the “total cancelation of the bad agreement with the Cuban regime”, the promise that “we shall soon get a free Cuba” and the statement made by President Trump that “the Castro’s regime has sent weapons to North Korea and supports the repression in Venezuela”, followed by the rejection by the Department of State to a request from Nicolas Maduro for a high-level dialogue, are all part of a new U.S. Foreign Policy that is based on principles of freedom and democracy.
We understand Foreign Policy to be “a set of objectives that a state is challenged to accomplish regarding the behavior of other international institutions” and is considered to be comprised by “decisions made by the Government on the basis of its national principles and interests regarding the actors of the international system”. It is about “the international dimension of the governance’s strategy.”
When we see the new United States’ administration express its concern, early on, and take actions of increasing pressure regarding the government of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela, we see a new Foreign Policy confirmed this recently past 16th of June by the President of the United States, warning the Cuban dictatorship “to put an end to the abuse of dissidents, free political prisoners, open-up greater political freedoms.” The new U.S. Foreign Policy towards Latin America, albeit a delayed reaction to the need to defend its own homeland security, is an important return to the principles of freedom and democracy and to the fundamental acknowledgement of “who the adversary is”.
Last century ended with only one dictatorship in the Americas, that of Castroist Cuba, whose end was foretold to be very close. But when Hugo Chavez got to Venezuela’s presidency in 1999 in need of security and stability for his fragile government, he sought Castroist support and got into a political alliance that provided Cuba with much needed oil and money, but moreover it gave Cuba the possibility to recreate its project to expand its revolution throughout the hemisphere, as was previously attempted through armed intervention, terrorism, and guerrilla warfare starting in the decade of the sixties. The result from the embezzled Venezuelan resources by Chavez and Castro’s politico-criminal capabilities was the deterioration of democracy in the Americas, the creation and expansion of the “21st Century Socialism’s dictatorships” in Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Nicaragua that are now attempting to include Colombia with the political legitimization of the FARC guerrillas.
Governments from the ALBA Bolivarian Project, or 21st Century Socialism, that up to recently controlled Argentina with the Kirchner’s and Brazil with Lula and Rousseff have declared themselves to be “anti-imperialist” and proclaimed to be enemies of the United States. Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador have expelled U.S. Ambassadors and only Ecuador has allowed its reinstatement. These same three governments have expelled the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) from their countries, unilaterally breaking all agreements for the fight against narcotics trafficking, all have rejected U.S. military assistance and have changed their forces’ doctrine to make them anti-imperialist, creating and operating “ALBA’s anti-imperialist military school” located in Santa Cruz, Bolivia with a staff of Cuban trainers. Ecuador has removed United States’ personnel and resources from its counter narcotics operations based at Manta, and all have bought military weapons and equipment from Russia and China.
The most important threats to regional security and that of the United States in the region, come from acts or omissions from these countries; narcotics trafficking has grown with Colombia’s FARC and Evo Morales’ coca leaf growers’ unions in Bolivia as sources of production, with the establishment of their hub in Venezuela and with greater participation of Ecuador; Islamic terrorism funds its operations through narcotics trafficking. We have seen signs of logistical support and evidence of Identification theft with open sympathy towards dictatorial regimes. Migratory pressures on the U.S. are essentially originated by the insecurity and threats that the two aforementioned situations produce.
Cuba has control of integrated groups at international organizations, besides having control of the Petrocaribe’s vote, through Venezuelan oil, which has allowed it to form a pressure cartel at the United Nations in alliance with those adversaries of the U.S. and control the Organization of American States (OAS), an organization it does not want, nor need, to become a part of. Its penetration into specialized organizations is, simply, very effective. With Chavez’s death, the Castroists have taken the political leadership of Latin America. A recent demonstration of that power -although somewhat decreased but still pretty much in effect- is the result of the U.N.’s general assembly in Cancun where although no longer having a majority of votes, Castroists were able to block any censure and sanctions against Maduro’s Venezuelan dictatorship.
The new U.S. Foreign Policy in the region is called for and certainly founded on the principles of freedom and democracy, based on the acknowledgement that “there are two Americas”, the democratic one under harassment, and the dictatorial one that is a threat to the United States and that is willing to go to any extreme to retain, at all cost- the indefiniteness of power based on corruption, crime, and impunity. The hope is now for a timely and correct execution of the new U.S. Foreign Policy.
Published in Spanish by Diario las Américas on Sunday June 25th, 2017