The Empire’s Reconquest

The American empire has lost all composure. Over the last few days, it announced two very disturbing pieces of news that speak of its perverse intention to regain total control of Latin America and the Caribbean. The plan is to take relations between them and the United States back to where they were before the triumphant Cuban Revolution.

Part of this news involves the scandalous statements made by Joe Biden’s nominee for U.S. ambassador to Argentina, Marc Stanley, at his confirmation hearing before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Stanley’s words oozed rancid interventionism, typical of the years of “gunboat diplomacy.” They confirm the validity of the Monroe Doctrine, which is about to turn 200 and continues to be the fundamental reference for the U.S. government when it comes to defining its relations with Latin America.

Stanley is not a career diplomat but a ruthless shyster, which is why he was president of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association and the Dallas Trial Lawyers Association. Apart from being a member of the Democratic Party — to which he has contributed more than $1.5 million in support of a number of election campaigns — Stanley is also an Israel lobbyist. Hence, one of the top priorities on his agenda is that the Argentine government and judiciary investigate and prosecute responsible parties, including, as Stanley mentioned, the Iranian government and Hezbollah as the main suspects, among others.*

On economic matters, he spoke about the recession that has affected the Argentine economy since 2018 and the need for an early arrangement with the International Monetary Fund. He described the country as “a beautiful tourist bus whose wheels are not working properly,” and stated that he would put pressure on the issue of 5G technologies to prevent China from increasing its influence on Argentina and thus prevent the Asian giant from accessing “all data and information between the people of Argentina.” These data, by the way, are already safeguarded by numerous agencies of the U.S. government thanks to its partnership with the big technology companies there including Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft. Stanley also plans to go to great lengths to get the Argentine government to join “the United States and other countries that demand respect for human rights in countries such as Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua

In short, he is a disrespectful and pushy lawyer who ignores provisions of the Vienna Convention that prohibit ambassadors from intervening or offering public opinion on the domestic affairs of nations. He believes that ambassadors are the contemporary equivalent of Roman proconsuls, endowed with omnipotent powers to govern the foreign provinces of the empire. The Argentine government should prevent this modern imitator of Spruille Braden — the ambassador who organized the Democratic Union to fight Peronism in 1945 — from shamelessly meddling in Argentine politics. His outrageous statements would more than justify this response, but I find it difficult to think the Argentine administration will come to such a decision, especially when the Foreign Ministry has yet to say a word about Stanley’s aberrant remarks..

The other bad news concerns Latin America and the Caribbean as a whole, and has to do with statements by Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the U.S. Armed Forces. At the ceremony held at Southern Command Headquarters in Doral, Florida, where Army Gen. Laura Richardson took over as the new head of the Southern Command, he defined the Western Hemisphere as “a neighborhood of neighbors.” Milley said, “This hemisphere belongs to us and no one else, and we’re all shoulder to shoulder in that common cause to protect our hemisphere from any international threats.”

The word “we” could be interpreted in several ways. Yet, by mentioning who the potential adversaries of such an idyllic neighborhood might be — China, Russia and Iran — it became clear that this “we” refers to the United States, not the other nations. Washington has characterized those three countries not only as adversaries, but as enemies. Milley evoked ambiguous language reminiscent of the subtle wordplay in the Monroe Doctrine by proclaiming, “America for the Americans,” which in reality means for the people of the U.S. When the U.S. administration tried to ratify that slogan at the First Pan-American Conference held in Washington (Oct. 2, 1889-April 19, 1890), Argentine delegate Roque Sáenz Peña responded with, “America for humanity!” which José Martí would later inscribe in gold letters on the book “Our America,” his splendid account of the conference.

Milley’s message followed that of Secretary of Defense Gen. Lloyd Austin, who shortly before had said that the mission of the Southern Command was to work closely with the governments of the area to “combat” certain enigmatic “malign influences” that thrive in the region. The idea that Latin America and the Caribbean belong to the United States has been a recurrent topic in academic discussions over the last half-century, although some euphemisms were always used to avoid negative reaction and avoid exacerbating latent anti-Americanism in the region. But in times of rapid change among international alliances accelerated by the decline of U.S. global power, this courtly language has been abandoned. The project of colonial domination has been relaunched openly and without false modesty. Every character mentioned here is living proof.

*Editor’s Note: The author is referring to the unsolved 1994 bombing of the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina Jewish community center in Buenos Aires.

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