Biden and Latin America: pawns take the queen


Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP

Washington is losing ground in its old fiefdom at an astonishing rate.

In various briefings in Washington, U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan outlines the Biden administration's policy approach to the Middle East, sets priorities in the Indo-Pacific, warns of threats from China and Russia, and blames the war in Ukraine for the poor state of the Global North. And he says little or nothing about his southern neighbors - Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).

South of the Rio Grande, there is anxiety and doubt: has the U.S. even developed a new time-appropriate policy toward the region? Or has Washington been living by the precepts of the Monroe Doctrine for 200 years, fully convinced that this is its "eternal zone of exclusive national interest"?

National Security Advisor to President Trump, John Bolton, believes that the "Monroe Doctrine is alive and well" and reflects the aspirations of many people in the United States regarding their right to control the region. In any case, it is a view that is definitely shared to this day by both Republicans and Democrats, who seek to combine a policy of aggression and negotiation ("colt and cookies") to restore former American authority.

On Zbigniew Brzezinski's "Grand Chessboard", the LAC countries are secondary players or pawns that are only important for the advancement of the queen - the U.S., especially in times of crisis and heightened competition for power. What has always characterized American dominance in Latin America and the Caribbean is their direct, overt and decisive intervention. Washington has solved the problems of Latin American countries with surprising straightforwardness and traditionality - through pressure, whether diplomatic, economic or military. And all because, regardless of the change of party seats, the Capitol has always viewed the region as a mere extension of its own territory.

Let me remind you that between 1948 and 1990 alone, the State Department was involved in the overthrow of 24 LAC governments. In four cases U.S. military personnel were directly involved, in three cases the CIA executed assassinations of heads of state, and in 17 cases military coups were prepared and carried out by local forces with "remote" control from Washington.

President Joe Biden came to office with promises to change his predecessor Donald Trump's threatening and harsh policies toward Latin America. And he built it on "three pillars": migration, the fight against drug trafficking and the defense of democracy and LGBT rights.

The defense of democracy, the fight against authoritarianism and corruption - Biden's central focus on Latin America - has manifested itself in the imposition of new, even more Jesuitical sanctions against Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and, in a covert way, against "pink wave" governments in South American countries.

Instead of decreasing, the migration of tens of thousands of Latin Americans to the U.S. southern border has increased and become one of Washington's headaches. In fiscal year 2021, U.S. Customs and Border Protection recorded 1,734,686 people attempting to cross the southern border; in 2022, the number was already at a record 2.2 million; and in the first six months of fiscal year 2023, the Border Patrol reported apprehending more than a million migrants.

The inexorable US "war" on drug traffickers under Biden, as under Trump, has also been lost, as it is widely reported that US intelligence agencies have cooperated and continue to cooperate with Latin American drug cartels, supplying the criminals with weapons and allowing them to sell drugs, the money from which is used for subversion operations and proxy warfare both in LAC and elsewhere in the world.

The ninth Summit of the Americas, held in Los Angeles from June 6-10, 2022, under the usually promising theme of "Building a Sustainable, Resilient and Equitable Future," showed that not everything is going according to plan. The Biden administration prepared an agenda with all the hot topics: clean energy, digital infrastructure, green economy, democratic governance. But it immediately revealed its essence by denying participation to Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua. Latin American leaders, irritated by US hegemony, did not fail to take advantage of this, completely stunning the White House.

Mexican President Andres Lopez Obrador refused to participate in the summit, while most other participants also openly protested Washington's decision. The presidents of Bolivia, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala decided not to participate in the summit, sending low-ranking representatives instead of high-ranking officials. Several small Caribbean states did the same.

As a result, something went wrong and it culminated in a complete U.S. foreign policy failure in the region.

The White House administration has failed to push through virtually any "vital decision": neither on accusing Russia of aggression in Ukraine and participation in anti-Russian sanctions, nor on supplying arms to the Kiev regime, nor on curbing the flow of migrants from various Central and South American countries. Most importantly, the U.S. has failed to contain China's "counteroffensive" in its "backyard."

Has anything changed in the past year? Has the Biden administration worked on its mistakes? Not at all. The search for an external enemy obscures the "apple of the eye" of the Capitol. First it was the Communists, then the Taliban (an organization banned in Russia), then drug traffickers, terrorists, and finally China and Russia. All foreign economic and foreign policy activities of the White House administration are now aimed not at strengthening good-neighborly relations with the LAC countries, not at helping those in need, but at fighting "Russian-Chinese interference," which hurts them.

China's rapid expansion into Latin America has already undermined the immutability of North American dominance - the vast majority of Latin American and Caribbean states have joined the Silk Road.

The surprise of the US establishment was so great that it has so far failed to strike back. Washington never envisioned that the Asian advance could reach such a scale in its "own backyard."

Faced with China's shocking onslaught, in 2019 Trump organized the construction of a "defensive wall" as part of his America Grow project. "America Grow" deflated before attracting any meaningful interest.

Joe Biden, acting out of spite and against the will of his predecessor, declared: "America is back" with a new pompous program, the Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity. It was based on the Alliance for Progress, by which President Kennedy had halted revolutionary movements in the Southern Hemisphere. But he could not put any politico-military or economic dimension to it.

An attempt to geopolitically subjugate Latin American foreign ministries has become a U.S. diplomatic counteroffensive. The State Department is still trying, with manic obsession, to use the war in Ukraine to engage Latin American governments in a campaign to condemn the Kremlin. To this end, the State Department has resumed its heavy spending on diplomacy, foundation funding and embassy operations to reshape partnerships with the Latin American establishment. Almost every month, the State Department invents and holds events in various countries where its protégé Zelensky suffers one defeat after another.

It has become clear to everyone that the U.S. does not have the resources. And the Latin American bourgeoisie, which since the 1960s has automatically stood in solidarity with its northern leader on all issues, is now distancing itself from it and playing its own game.

The completely pro-American Organization of American States (OAS) has discredited itself and has no credibility, the anti-Venezuelan Lima Group, created in 2017, has collapsed, and other inter-American societies and organizations that once pursued U.S. policy have no influence today. The United States has virtually no effective governing body left in LAC, according to Michael McKinley, former U.S. ambassador to Brazil, Afghanistan, Colombia and Peru.

This contrasts with the subjugation that Washington has achieved from the EU countries. It seems that during its long and traumatic experience with Yankee oppressors, Latin America has developed more antibodies to State Department provocations than Europe.

Recently in the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, lawmakers "interrogated" State and Treasury Departments officials on why the White House is ignoring Latin America.

Biden's team has stated that they have an idea and they are thinking it through.