Tuesday, November 08, 2005

US Hegemony in the Americas

The Monroe Doctrine

The Monroe Doctrine was mentioned in a book I was recently reading. I knew the Monroe Doctrine had some significance because I had given an oral report on it in the 8th grade, but I could not remember anything about the Doctrine or my presentation - except that I had taken on the persona of a Russian woman, including what could only have been a comedy accent.

The Monroe Doctrine of 1823 stated that the Americas were to be closed to any future European colonisation and that any European interference in the affairs of sovereign American countries would be considered acts of hostility towards the United States.

The Roosevelt Corollary was added to the Monroe Doctrine in 1904 – it ‘gave’ the US the right to intervene in Latin American affairs. The Clark Memorandum of 1930 reversed the Roosevelt Corollary, in theory at least, saying that the US had no right to intervene in Latin America unless there was a threat from European powers.

However in reality, it would seem that there have consistently been ‘threats’ from Europe. Today I have looked into CIA covert operations in Guatemala, Cuba, Chile and Nicaragua.

Guatemala – Operation PBSuccess 1952-1954

Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán was elected President of Guatemala in 1951 in a democratic fashion. His administration introduced some policies of which the US did not approve because they were too communist and indicated probable Soviet influence. Enter the CIA. The CIA operation used diplomatic, economic, propaganda and paramilitary means to overthrow President Guzmán. There is obviously more to the story than that – for a fairly comprehensive summary, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_PBSUCCESS

Cuba – The Cuban Project aka Operation Mongoose 1961-1962

Lifted from The National Security Archive:

In his exposé of the National Security Agency entitled Body of Secrets, author James Bamford highlights a set of proposals on Cuba by the Joint Chiefs of Staff codenamed OPERATION NORTHWOODS. This document, titled “Justification for U.S. Military Intervention in Cuba” was provided by the JCS to Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara on March 13, 1962, as the key component of Northwoods. Written in response to a request from the Chief of the Cuba Project, Col. Edward Lansdale, the Top Secret memorandum describes U.S. plans to covertly engineer various pretexts that would justify a U.S. invasion of Cuba. These proposals - part of a secret anti-Castro program known as Operation Mongoose - included staging the assassinations of Cubans living in the United States, developing a fake “Communist Cuban terror campaign in the Miami area, in other Florida cities and even in Washington,” including “sink[ing] a boatload of Cuban refugees (real or simulated),” faking a Cuban air force attack on a civilian jetliner, and concocting a “Remember the Maine” incident by blowing up a U.S. ship in Cuban waters and then blaming the incident on Cuban sabotage. Bamford himself writes that Operation Northwoods “may be the most corrupt plan ever created by the U.S. government.”

The project ultimately failed.

Chile – 1963-1973

Because Salvador Allende was a Marxist, the United States was determined that he not take power. The CIA spent $3 million to influence the outcome of the 1964 presidential election; Allende lost. In 1970 when Allende won the election, the CIA in Chile received orders to orchestrate a coup, preferably before 24th October, when Allende would take office. There was no coup that year.

Allende was finally overthrown by General Augusto Pinochet in a military coup in 1973. The CIA claims that it “played no direct role” in the coup, but it does admit that it was notified two days prior to the staging of the coup. There is no evidence currently publicly available to prove whether the CIA did or did not have a part in the coup.

Nicaragua – 1980s

In November of 1981, Ronald Reagan signed National Security Decision Directive 17, which gave the CIA authority to recruit and support the Contras with $19 million in military aid. The Contras were freedom fighters or terrorists, depending on your point of view, who opposed the socialist Sandinista government.

In 1984 Nicaragua filed a suit against the US in the International Court of Justice and in 1986 the Court issued a guilty verdict, stating that the US was “in breach of its obligation under customary international law not to use force against another state”. The US was ordered to pay reparations, but refused to recognise the jurisdiction of the Court.

And then there was the Iran-Contra Affair of 1986-1987, which is a story for another day.

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