United States and Venezuela | Rethinking a Relationship | Taylor & Francis Group
United States and Venezuela: Rethinking a Relationship (Electronic book text) / Author: Carlos A. Romero / Author: Janet Kelly ; ; International. Former Minister of Agriculture of Venezuela. Roberto Dañino . and different U.S. priorities, the United States and Latin America . relationship. This report is. Rethinking a Relationship Carlos A. Romero, Janet Kelly. INTER-AMERICAN RELATIONS SERlEs EDITED BY JORGE DOMl'NGUEz AND RAFAEL.
Revisiting the Cold War in Latin America
The US-backed opposition lost all institutional leverage. This strategic failure led it to continue throwing its marginalized domestic assets into conflict with less resources and support. Political hubris underpinning a military-driven imperialist ideology had blinded Washington to the realities in Venezuela, i.
Hugo Chavez possessed massive popular support and was backed by nationalist military officers. Washington did not understand the decisive political shifts occurring in Latin America and favorable global economic conditions for petroleum exporters.
Bogota granted Washington the use of seven military bases, numerous airfields and the establishment of Special Forces missions- preparatory for cross border intrusions. The strategy would be to launch a joint intervention under the pretext that Venezuela supplied and sheltered the FARC guerillas. Every country in the region would have opposed any direct US intervention and Colombia was not willing to go it alone, especially with its own full-scale guerrilla war against the FARC.
All the oil multinationals continued normal operations in Venezuela, except US companies. The oil revenues funded a wide-range of social programs, including subsidized food, housing and social welfare, healthcare and educational programs led to a sharp drop in poverty and unemployment.
This secured a strong electoral base for Chavez. Coups failed in Bolivia and Ecuador further radicalizing political relations against the US. Washington did not lack partners: New bilateral trade agreements were signed with Chile, Panama, Colombia and Mexico. The Pentagon engineered a bloody coup in Honduras against a democratically elected President. The National Security Agency engaged in major cyber-spying operations in Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and the rest of the continent.
US support for the coup-makers in Honduras may have overthrown an ally for Chavez in ALBA but it led to even greater diplomatic isolation and discredit for Washington throughout Latin America. Even Colombia denounced the US coup against the Honduran president. While US military support for Colombia contributed to some border tensions with Venezuela, the election of President Santos in Bogota brought significant movement toward peaceful reconciliation with Venezuela.
The program of NSA cyber-spying against regional leaders, revealed by Edward Snowden, resulted in outrage and greater animosity toward Washington.Today News - PressTV-Cuba, Venezuela slam new US sanctions, court Russia
Imperial policy makers had relied exclusively on interventionist strategies with military-intelligence operations and were clearly out of touch with the new configuration of power in Latin America. In contrast, Venezuela consolidated its economic ties with the new regional and global economic power centers, as the foundations for its independent policies. Caracas success in financing and backing multi-lateral regional economic and political organizations in South America and the Caribbean, which excluded the US, reflects the power of oil diplomacy over saber rattling.
Colombia agreed to end its cross-border paramilitary and military incursions and withdrew its support for US destabilization operations in exchange for Venezuela closing guerrilla sanctuaries, re-opening trade relations and encouraging the FARC to enter into peace negotiations with the Santos regime. Latin America viewed Caracas as a partner in regional trade integration and a lucrative market. US diplomacy does not reflect its trade relations with Venezuela: For example, in Marchtwo US military attaches were expelled after they were caught trying to recruit Venezuelan military officers.
A few months later, in September, three US Embassy officials were kicked out for their participation in destabilization activity with members of the far right opposition.
At the country-level, Venezuela marks out a new development paradigm which features public ownership over the free market, social welfare over multi-national oil profits and popular power over elite rule.
In other words, Venezuela upholds national self-determination against US military driven imperialism. Venezuela demonstrates that a highly globalized, trade dependent economy can have an advanced welfare program. Venezuela has shown the US public that a market economy and large social welfare investments are not incompatible.
Despite its severe diplomatic setbacks, regional isolation, the loss of its military platform, and an economic boom, driven by the high world price of oil, Washington keeps on trying to destabilize Venezuela. Beginning inimperial strategy re-focused on elections and domestic destabilization programs. This happened right after his substantial Presidential re-election victory.
The overtly socialist constitution proved too radical for a sector of the Venezuelan electorate. The business community started hoarding essential goods in order to provoke shortages and whip up popular discontent.
Seven Keys to Imperial Politics: Imperial capacity to overthrow a nationalist government requires a unified collaborator military command. President Chavez made sure there were loyalists in strategic military units able to counter the coup-making capacity of imperial proxies. Imperial capacity to intervene depends on not being tied down in ongoing wars elsewhere and on securing regional collaborators. Neither condition was present. The armies of the empire were bogged down in prolonged wars in the Middle East and South Asia creating public hostility to another war in Venezuela.
In the face of serious losses resulting from the subsequent purging of client elites in the military and business associations, Washington then unleashed its client oil executives and trade union officials to mount an oil lockout, without any support from the military.
Eventually the shutdown of oil production and delivery managed to alienate broad sectors of the business community and consumers as they suffer from fuel and other critical shortages. In the end, over ten thousand US clients among senior and middle management were purged and the PDVSA the state oil company was restructured and transformed into a formidable political instrument funding Venezuela comprehensive social welfare programs.
To make a virtue of its serial disasters, Washington decided to backed a boycott of the Congressional elections and ended up with near unanimous Chavista control of Congress and a wide popular mandate to implement Chavez executive prerogatives. Chavez then used his executive decrees to promote an anti-imperialist foreign policy with no congressional opposition! Washington found itself isolated. Instead of dumping discredited clients and attempting to adapt to the changing anti-neo-liberal climate, Washington, for internal reasons the ascent of Wall Streetpersisted in pursuing a self-defeating propaganda war.
None of these conditions existed in Venezuela. On the contrary, world demand and prices for oil boomed. Venezuela grew by double-digits. Unemployment and poverty sharply declined.
Easy and available consumer credit and increased public spending greatly expanded the domestic market. Free health and education and public housing programs grew exponentially. In other words, global macro-economic and local social conditions favored the anti-hegemonic perspectives of the government.
Imperial policy makers were way out of step in Latin America, emphasizing its brand of global ideological-military confrontation while leaders and public opinion in Latin America were turning toward growing market opportunities for their commodities.
In this context, global militarism was not going to restore US hegemony; Latin American leaders were focused on domestic and Asian markets, poverty reduction, democracy and citizen participation. During past decades, when Latin America was ruled by military regimes, US global militarism resonated with the elites.
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The change from a Republican to a Democratic presidency in Washington did not result in any substantive change in imperial policy toward Venezuela or Latin America. In practice, Washington continued military provocations from its bases in Colombia, backed the Honduras military coup and supported a violent destabilization campaign in April following the defeat of its favored presidential candidate, Henrique Capriles Radonski, by the Chavista Nicholas Maduro.
Trump has replaced it, at least temporarily, with an angrier tag line that conveys the same sense of national power and entitlement—America First, itself a term ripped from history and freighted with dark meaning. When America is first, it owes little to everyone else.
In its original formation, American exceptionalism was a much more complicated theory. It conveyed the idea that the United States was immune from social, political and economic forces that governed other countries—specifically, that it was invulnerable to communism and fascism, and to violent political convulsions of the sort that jolted Europe throughout the long 19th and 20th centuries. It also implied that Americans bore a providential obligation to be exemplars of virtue in a sinful world.
Exceptionalism was for many decades a hotly contested topic among historians and social scientists. Could arbitrary borders really render an entire country exempt from broader social, economic and political forces, particularly in an age when these borders became more porous to the movement of capital and labor? In more recent years, the debate cooled.
While some political scientists continued to explore potential variants of American exceptionalism, most historians concluded that the idea was meaningless and the very conversation itself stale.
His election and the conditions that accompanied it—a growing rejection of science and evidentiary fact, extreme political tribalism, the rise of conservative nationalist movements around the world, a popular reaction to immigration and free trade—may offer final and conclusive proof that there is nothing at all exceptional about the United States. We are fully susceptible to the same forces, good and ill, that drive politics around the globe.
But before we sound a death knell for the idea, it would help to remember what it actually means. This seemingly benign idea set American communists on a collision course with Moscow. Marxist orthodoxy held that the laws of political economy were universal and immutable. History—in this case, the various stages of capitalist development—operated the same way everywhere.
No one country was immune to its universal principles. The Soviet leadership purged Lovestone and his supporters and replaced them with more conforming enthusiasts. If the phrase was new, the underlying sentiment—that America was somehow different, or special—was not. The first was rooted in Puritan theology and held that America was divinely selected for greatness and mission. The second presumed that the United States was unique in the character of its people, economy and politics.
With the advent of modern universities in the late 19th century, scholars attempted to explain this historical uniqueness. Inthe U. Although presidential summits in, and all sought rapprochement, guardian agencies repeatedly blocked these efforts. Yet only Honduras and Nicaragua managed to end their long-standing rivalry stemming from a territorial dispute and achieve rapprochement.
Between andthe Honduran and Nicaraguan presidents signed an Accord on Territorial Asylum that addressed the threat of insurgents using the disputed region to launch attacks against either regime, accepted a ruling on their land dispute by the International Court of Justice, and finally cemented a new era of fraternal relations at a presidential summit.
By contrast, during the same period to and despite having similar incentives to put their rivalries away and confront their common insurgency threat, El Salvador and Honduras failed to do so, as did Costa Rica and Nicaragua.
What made the difference between reconciliation and continued rivalry, Darnton contends, was the dearth of resources Honduras and Nicaragua had to continue their rivalry and address the new threat.
By comparison, the more prosperous El Salvador and Costa Rica felt less compelled to accept this policy trade-off. Andean and Southern Cone rivalries displayed similar dynamics during the s debt crisis. Buried under mountains of external debt, national economies contracted, development plans stalled, poverty increased, unemployment spiked, and economic hardship battered households.
Yet under these conditions only one dyadic rivalry—Argentina and Chile—was abandoned and rapprochement achieved, whereas rivalries between Ecuador and Peru, Colombia and Venezuela, and Bolivia and Chile remained unresolved.
Thus, in the Southern Cone where the Argentine and Chilean militaries faced leftist insurgencies and had developed internal security missions in response, the debt crisis forced policy trade-offs that saw the military accept bilateral rapprochement.
In the Andean Ridge countries, where insurgency threats had not risen uniformly, only the militaries of one party to a given rivalry had devised new internal security missions: In these latter cases, the presence of economic constraints alone proved insufficient to facilitate rapprochement, and efforts to achieve bilateral reconciliation bore no fruit.
Unlike some works, it offers a refreshing view of Cold War relations between Latin American countries themselves, rather than primarily with the United States. It is ambitious in scope, theoretically rigorous, and clearly written. It is a fine work of qualitative political science whose hypotheses are empirically tested.
This well-researched, insightful volume shines a bright light on how Mexico navigated the mid to late decades of the Cold War roughly through the mids. Keller persuasively documents the need for this two-level enterprise. Privately, however, his government spied on Cuban activities and Mexican Cuba sympathizers and shared this intelligence with Washington.
It also worked closely with US intelligence operatives in Mexico as it monitored and ultimately repressed leftist dissidents. In reality, for Mexican leaders the domestic political capital gained from rebuffing the United States and from expressing solidarity with Cuba was equally important. Its tradition of welcoming foreign political exiles—which preceded the Cold War—set the stage for wide-ranging skulduggery, revolutionary scheming, and cloak-and-dagger operations once the Cold War began.
Hoping to burnish their own soft power and influence international opinion, the superpowers created front organizations to promote cultural exchange, sponsor conferences, subsidize magazines and book publications, and support the works of leftist opinion molders.
Those messages could not have been more distinct. The WPC held that peace corresponded to the interests of the Soviet Union, whose system and expanding communist offspring were contested and threatened by Western, capitalist imperialism led by the United States; by contrast, the CCF held that totalitarian systems marked the death of liberty, freedom of thought, and organic cultural expression.
Across Latin America, leftist artists and intellectuals of different stripes worked within these institutions to advance their own political ideas, support their work, and promote their personal agendas. Yet the story that Neither Peace nor Freedom tells is not about any of these individuals per se; nor is it a story of how the superpowers manipulated Latin American intellectuals for their own advantage.
Rather, it is a story of conflict within the global Left that pitted anticommunist leftists against anti-anticommunist leftists—a conflict that preceded the Cold War but was imprinted onto the East—West struggle once it began. It is about a struggle between members of competing leftist intellectual communities inside Latin America: Anticommunist leftists could not countenance free speech and association for local communist writers, and wound up cooperating with the country whose transgressions against Latin American self-determination they rightly abhorred.
Meanwhile, anti-anticommunist leftists failed to criticize the destruction of freedoms practiced by Stalin and, later, the repression required by Soviet-style totalitarian systems.