President Barack Obama’s recently announced trip to Cuba, the first for an American president since that of Calvin Coolidge in 1928, does not represent a new chapter in US-Latin American relations. Instead, Obama’s Latin American trek is meant to put his seal of approval on more than a decade of gross US interference in Latin American affairs that has seen Central Intelligence Agency covert support for coups, attempted coups, economic warfare, separatist movements, and open treason by opposition party leaders.
Adding insult to injury by visiting Argentina and its new neo-fascist president Mauricio Macri following his trip to Cuba, Obama chose as the date of his trip to Buenos Aires March 24, 2016, the 40th anniversary of Argentina’s last military coup. The US ambassador to Argentina, Noah Mamet, insists that there is no significance to Obama’s arrival date but every Argentine citizen knows March 24 as the date military dictatorial fascism last swallowed democracy in Argentina.
The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, those mothers who lost children among the «disappeared» of Argentina, students and other young people, who were arrested and executed by the Argentine junta, find nothing funny or coy in Obama’s choice of March 24 to visit their country.
Nora Cortiña, the co-founder of Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo-Founding Line, told La Red radio the following of Obama’s choice of March 24 to diplomatically endorse the re-emerging fascist regime: «[The US] were the instigators of the dictatorships in the Southern Cone of Latin America. Besides, that is a country that constantly meddles in other countries, causing horror… if this wasn’t premeditated… [whether]… they particularly chose this day would be very sadistic».
In 2002, the George W. Bush administration became so mired down in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it only had time to try to pull off a single coup in Latin America. The Bush administration tried unsuccessfully to oust Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in April 2002. After that coup failed, the Bush administration largely retreated to a policy of «benign neglect» in Latin America. Washington did not even react with typical Central Intelligence Agency chicanery in trying to prevent the election of leftist leaders in Ecuador, Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Honduras, Suriname, and Guatemala. All that changed after Barack Obama became president. Obama was intent on reversing leftist progressive gains in Latin America, his and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy moves claimed its first victim in progressive Honduran president Manuel Zelaya on June 28, 2009. The president was grabbed by a military unit at his home in the middle of the night, marched in his pajamas to a cell at a military airbase, and flown to exile in Costa Rica. The US ambassador to Honduras, ex-Mossad security «specialists», and US intelligence agents and military officers virtually directed the handling of the coup.
Former Roman Catholic liberation theology bishop Fernando Lugo, elected president of Paraguay in April 2008, was ousted in a «constitutional coup» directed by the CIA in June 2012.
With these two successful coups under its belt, the Obama administration went for more. There would have been three, but an attempted national police coup against Ecuador’s progressive president Rafael Correa in 2010 failed when the Ecuadorian military swore loyalty to the government. Protesters against the coup shouted «This is not Honduras!» a reference to the 2009 CIA-backed coup against Zelaya in Honduras.
The CIA-financed National Endowment for Democracy (NED) stepped up its influence operations and economic warfare against the Evo Morales government of Bolivia, the Chavez government in Venezuela, and Correa in Ecuador, as well as the Dilma Rousseff government in Brazil and the presidency of Cristina Kirchner in Argentina.
The Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA), created in 2004 by Venezuela and Cuba, soon branched out to include a number of progressive Latin American and Caribbean members. The United States, which traditionally relied on the Organization of American States (OAS) as its supranational mechanism of control over the hemisphere, set out to disrupt ALBA and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), the latter including 33 states minus the United States and Canada, the creation of which was strongly supported by leaders like Chavez and Morales.
Using multinational corporations and banks, the US and its CIA waged economic warfare against Venezuela and Argentina. The former was subjected to crippling currency deflation and corporate hoarding of essential commodities. The latter saw its economic wealth threatened by usurious hedge fund vultures like Paul Singer’s Elliot Management Corporation, backed up by a corrupt US federal judicial system, which south to bleed the very last peso out of Argentina. It is no surprise that Singer backs Florida’s neo-conservative senator Marco Rubio for the White House, which, under a Rubio administration, would pick up the gauntlet from Obama and see the remaining Latin American progressive governments swept aside by hook or by crook.
Other artificially induced economic strife was visited upon Brazil, Ecuador, and Haiti by the forces of coercion in Washington.
Where economic warfare was insufficient, the CIA played the secession and border dispute cards. Latin American nations that previously had not experienced problems with secessionists soon found themselves confronting well-financed groups demanding independence for natural resource-rich provinces and states. Oil-rich Zulia state of Venezuela, which produced 40 percent of Venezuela’s oil, saw a US-backed independence group come to the forefront demanding secession from Venezuela. Zulia independence advocates also stated that Zulia was the «Texas of Venezuela», reference to the independence-minded and oil-rich American state that has also dabbled with thoughts of independence.
Morales found out that the US Agency for International Development (USAID), working on behalf of the CIA, was fomenting secessionist movements in the natural gas-rich states of Beni, Santa Cruz, Tarija, and Pando. Morales kicked USAID out of the country.
Ecuador’s Correa faced a secessionist challenge from Jaime Nebot, the right-wing mayor of the coastal city of Guayaquil. Nebot became infamous in 1990 for threatening to urinate on a fellow member of Congress, who was a socialist. Guayaquil and its province of Guayas are at the center of Ecuador’s oil industry and the CIA’s option of using oil and natural gas production zones for its secessionist ambitions in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador was not coincidental. The CIA has often relied on the oil and natural gas industries to foment artificial rebellions and social boors like Nebot to carry out its agenda.
In 2015, after oil was discovered along the Guyana-Venezuela border region of Essequibo, the US prevailed on Guyana’s new pro-Western president David Granger to reignite the embers of an old border dispute with Venezuela. Venezuela was also beset by a right-wing paramilitary insurgency on its western border with Colombia, again fostered with CIA assistance.
Obama’s visit to a remerging fascist state in Argentina more than offsets his burying of the decades-old conflict with Cuba. Obama has not even been able to convince the US Congress to lift its crippling economic sanctions against Cuba. But Obama’s choice of Argentina to visit, a country where progressive opposition forces to the Macri regime are being fired from their jobs and even imprisoned, represents a victory dance for an American president who could never shed the CIA clothing earned while a Latin American analyst for the CIA front company Business International Corporation in Manhattan during the early 1980s.