Monday, May 30, 2016

Enduring Cold War in Latin America

“Washington’s Cold War never ended in Latin America, and now they see their opportunity for 'rollback.'” - Mark WEisbrot, The Brazilian Coup and Washington’s “Rollback” in Latin America CEPR 05/26/2016

Weisbrot puts the current regime-change operations supported by the Obama Administration against Brazil (which has at least temporarily succeeded) and Brazil into this larger foreign policy context:

This is the kind of guy that Washington wants, very badly, in charge of Brazil’s foreign policy. Although corporations are obviously a big player in U.S. foreign policy, and they literally do much of the writing of commercial agreements like NAFTA and the TPP, the number one guiding principle in Washington’s foreign policy apparatus is not short-term profit but power. The biggest decision-makers, all the way up to the White House, care first and foremost about getting other countries to line up with U.S. foreign policy. They did not support the consolidation of the Honduran military coup because Honduran President Mel Zelaya raised the minimum wage, but because he headed a vulnerable left government that was part of the same broad alliance that included Brazil under the PT. These governments all supported each other, and they changed the norms of the region so that even non-left governments like Colombia under Juan Manuel Santos mostly went along with the others.

That is what Washington wants to change right now, and there is much excitement in This Town about the prospects for “a new regional order,” which is really the old regional order of the 20th century. It won’t succeed — even by their own measures of success — any more than George W. Bush succeeded in his vision of reshaping the Middle East by invading Iraq. But they could help facilitate a lot of damage trying.

Oil wealth plays a particular role in US policy toward Venezuela. As REuters reported in 2014, "Venezuela is Latin America's biggest exporter of crude oil and has the world's largest petroleum reserves." (Brian Ellsworth and Andrew Cawthorne, Venezuela death toll rises to 13 as protests flare Reuters 02/24/2014).

Weisbrot fleshes out Washington's role in the "soft coup" in Brazil a bit with this:

It is clear that the executive branch of the U.S. government favors the coup underway in Brazil, even though they have been careful to avoid any explicit endorsement of it. Exhibit A was the meeting between Tom Shannon, the 3rd ranking U.S. State Department official and the one who is almost certainly in charge of handling this situation, with Senator Aloysio Nunes, one of the leaders of the impeachment in the Brazilian Senate, on April 20. By holding this meeting just three days after the Brazilian lower house voted to impeach President Dilma Rousseff, Shannon was sending a signal to governments and diplomats throughout the region and the world that Washington is more than ok with the impeachment. Nunes returned the favor this week by leading an effort (he is chair of the Brazilian Senate Foreign Relations Committee) to suspend Venezuela from Mercosur, the South American trade bloc.

Secretario de la OEA Luis Almagro presentará informe sobre Venezuela la próxima semana AFP/Panorama 25.05.2016

R. Lenoir y M. Domínguez, ¿Está pensando la OTAN invadir Venezuela? Diario16 28.05.2016

Con mediación de expresidentes inició exploración para el diálogo desde Dominicana Panorama 28.05.2016

Rubio entregó a Obama nuevos nombres de venezolanos involucrados en corrupción Panorama 28.05.2016

Antonio María Delgado, Rubio entrega nuevos nombres para sanciones de funcionarios chavistas El Nuevo Herald 05/27/2016

Ronal Labrador Gelvis, Maduro: En Madrid se prepara un ambiente de guerra, quieren tomar las riquezas de Venezuela Panorama 27.05.2016

Kerry welcomes bid to spur talks between Venezuela, opposition Reuters 05/27/2016

Venezuela leader says U.S. 'dreams' of dividing loyal military Reuters 05/22/2016

Venezuela president declares emergency, cites U.S., domestic 'threats' Reuters 05/13/2016:

Venezuela's opposition is seeking to recall the unpopular leader, 53, amid a worsening crisis that includes food and medicine shortages, frequent power cuts, sporadic looting and galloping inflation.

But the former union leader and bus driver has vowed to stick out his term, and accuses the United States of fomenting an undercover coup against him. He pointed to this week's impeachment of fellow leftist Dilma Rousseff in Brazil as a sign that he is next.

"Washington is activating measures at the request of Venezuela's fascist right, who are emboldened by the coup in Brazil," Maduro said during a Friday night broadcast on state television.

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