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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 9/6/20

Latin America heads for a confrontation that could break the empire's grip over it

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In the lands whose original names were desecrated by European invaders, and which are now called "Latin America," the forces of empire are approaching a reckoning with the forces of indigenous and proletarian resistance. After centuries of genocide and forced European cultural assimilation, decades of coups and repression campaigns by the Washington imperialists, and years of escalating U.S. economic warfare and threats against the region's anti-imperialist countries, the factors are aligning for a tremendous confrontation between the oppressed and the oppressors.

Waiting to strike are the military forces of Colombia, Brazil, and the U.S.-backed governments of Central America. To stop itself from having to sacrifice too many of its own resources, the U.S. plans to have its regional allies lead an attack against the socialist government of Venezuela, and to then have the U.S. military occupy the country like it did after Iraq was invaded. Since last year's failed Venezuela coup attempt, the Washington imperialists have been building up towards this new and greater attack, carrying out warlike preparations around Venezuela while growing the presence of their forces in the region. To help ensure his victory in November's election, Trump may well launch the invasion this October, since this would inflame the patriotism of his base.

Whether this happens in October or sometime later, it's certain that October is when Bolivia will undergo its own reckoning with imperialism. Since last year's U.S. coup in Bolivia, the country's indigenous movement has used armed struggles and civil disobedience to pressure the fascist new government to hold new elections. These elections will take place on October 18. But if the fascists and their Washington backers get their way, by then it will be too late to unseat the coup regime electorally. With the complicity of Bolivia's police, pro-regime Bolivians have been committing more acts of violence, trying to intimidate the socialist party into submission. In October, the imperialists might stage a new coup or try to rig the election. If so, the people's only route towards freedom will be a longer, harder series of battles with the government where even more blood is shed.

Washington aims to create the same situation in Nicaragua, Mexico, and Cuba, three other countries in the region that are far too disobedient for the empire to leave them alone. The U.S. government has formulated a plan for undemocratically removing Nicaragua's socialist Sandinista government and replacing it with a neoliberal regime. Washington is helping with a from Mexico's political and business elites to remove President LÃ pez Obrado, who's been challenging neoliberal dominance over the country. In what's amounted to an act of genocide, the U.S. has been tightening its sanctions on Cuba during the pandemic, all to help fulfill Trump's promise last year that socialism's days in Cuba are numbered.

In the parts of the region that the imperialists control, more and more people are suffering. The austerity that the IMF has gotten Ecuador to impose in the last year is leading to staggering amounts of Covid-19 deaths, overwhelmed hospitals, and a deep economic depression. Bolivia's coup regime has been depriving the poor of food during the pandemic while letting one of the world's worst Covid-19 surges take place. Neoliberalism has made Chile, Peru, Panama, and the Dominican Republic become countries where the number of people with Covid-19 has (sometimes drastically) surpassed 2,000 cases per million residents. Brazil, with its recently pummeled social safety net, has reached 126,000 Covid-19 deaths amid an ever-deepening economic crisis.

To ensure their control amid these crises, Latin America's rightist leaders are turning to fascism. And Bolsonaro, the president who the U.S. helped install in Brazil two years ago, is leading the charge. He's taking advantage of the pandemic to introduce intensive digital surveillance technology. He's mobilizing his supporters to intimidate his opponents with threats of violence, with the long-term goal of eroding the institutions that put checks on his power. His ultimate aim is to close down the parliament, which would make things closer than ever to the past Brazilian military dictatorship which he glorifies.

Other Latin American leaders from the pro-U.S. camp are also abandoning more and more of the rules of democracy which emerged out of the region's 20th century era of dictatorships. The quality of democracy in the region, which was deteriorating well before 2020, has been compounded by the pandemic. Militaries across the region are stepping in to handle or even oversee the responses to the crisis. And Latin America has seen before where developments like this one lead to: a paradigm where U.S.-backed military regimes brutality repress dissent while carrying out neoliberal assaults on the lower classes. Bolsonaro's decision to put more military in top posts than Brazil's dictatorship ever did shows how far he's already taken the trend.

This effort to militarize Latin America isn't just about preparing for war against Venezuela and keeping the people in line. It's about putting the region on the same war footing with Washington's rival superpowers that the U.S. itself has entered into. This February, the U.S. sent troops into Argentina while persuading the Argentine government to engage in military exercises. Then in March, U.S. Southern Command boosted its presence in the region with the express goal of advancing great-power competition with Russia and China. These measures-along with the efforts to get Brazil, Colombia, and other rightist regimes to engage in military buildup against Venezuela-are about countering the growing military presence that Russia, China, and Iran have gained in the region. The hope of the Washington imperialists is that if they and their allies go into a war with Venezuela well-armed enough, these three countries won't be able to stop them from carrying out another clean invasion like they did in Iraq.

Will they be able to destroy the remaining bastions of socialism in the hemisphere and usher in a new generation of Latin American dictatorships? With every act of military buildup, they move closer to attempting the wave of attacks that will bring about this new dark age.

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Rainer Shea is writing articles that counter the propaganda of the capitalist/imperialist power establishment, and that help move us towards a socialist revolution. Donate to me on Patreon here: https://www.patreon.com/user?u=11988744

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