The US and the Militarization of Latin America

September 8, 2015 at 9:28 AM

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The United States is countering the independent development of Latin American countries by using its military power and influence.

For more than two centuries, the United States has viewed Latin America as its “backyard,” a geopolitical sphere of influence where it acts as undisputed hegemon. The history of the Western hemisphere, broadly speaking, reflects this reality as the U.S. has influenced, dominated, and otherwise controlled the political and economic development of most of the countries of Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean.

However, recent years have borne witness to a growing independence and assertiveness from many nations in the region, owing in no small part to the rise of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. Indeed, with Venezuela as the exemplar, and Chavez as the initiator of the process of regional integration and collective security, Latin America has grown increasingly independent of its imperial neighbor to the north.

And it is precisely this political, economic, and cultural independence that the U.S. has moved to counteract in the most effective way it can: militarily. Using pretexts ranging from the “War on Drugs” to humanitarian assistance, and the “War on Terror,” the U.S. seeks to regain its military foothold in the region, and thereby maintain and further its hegemony.

The Silent Invasion

The deployment of U.S. military forces throughout Central and South America calls to mind the dark days of U.S. imperialism in the region, when Washington installed client regimes and fascist dictatorships for the purpose of controlling the political and economic development of nations that might otherwise have pursued the path of socialism and independence. And it is the memory of those years that is immediately evoked when one critically examines what the U.S. is doing militarily.

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