Four More Years – a Grim Prospect for Latin America 

MAPA Newsletter October 2020

by Ellen Mass

What would a Trump victory in November mean for the future of US policies in Latin America? In short, the results would be devastating. Most assuredly, the practices of the 21st century version of the Monroe Doctrine, which enforce US corporate capitalism and neoliberalism, would continue. Austerity policies for the local populations and extractive policies that enrich US corporations would dominate.

Here’s the barest outline of what we see as plausible, even if some are worst-case-scenarios:

–Intensifying sanctions and decreased aid to Venezuela, leading to further shortages of food and medicines, electricity blackouts, widespread suffering and death for thousands of civilians in addition to the 40,000 deaths estimated to have been caused by sanctions already, and US blockade (through sanctions) of needed pandemic PPE, preventing assistance from other countries;

–Continued interference with Iranian tankers carrying needed fuel and other supplies to Venezuela;

–Continued incitement of the opposition to rise up against the Venezuelan government by the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo; Possible invasion of Venezuela and outright war, murder of government leaders, and installation of US proxy leaders;

–Continued arming of Latin American despots such as those in Colombia and Brazil with massive paramilitary build up, resulting in the killings of thousands of labor and Indigenous leaders, farmers and peasants;

–Continued blackouts or distorted reporting by our mainstream media of much that goes on in Latin America; blockage of independent media sources, including books, newspapers, and broadcasting outlets; continued failure to report on major economic, social, and democratic advances made in countries attempting to move in a socialist direction, such as Venezuela and Bolivia or the historic gains made in Cuba and Nicaragua;

–Continued anti-Venezuela stance by the US Congress, both House and Senate; even Mass. Congressional leaders refuse to support full legal sovereignty for countries in Latin America, Central America and Caribbean, or to pledge they will oppose US interference by sanctions or proxy actions;

–Continued expansion of “Safe Third Country” agreements to utilize specified developing countries as dumping grounds for ‘undesirable’ migrants; continued blocking of poor and brown people fleeing increased violence and the climate crisis (for more details about immigration policy under Trump, read here).

Unfortunately, many of these same policies can be expected under a Democratic administration. While not the subject of this article, a brief review of Joe Biden’s history in relation to Latin America – including his major role in developing Plan Colombia – can be found here. The Latin America Working Group wants Biden to win because we think he is less likely to invade Venezuela and could possibly open better relations with Cuba. But, whoever wins the presidency, we need to remain vigilant and continue our pressure for policies that would respect the sovereignty of Latin American countries and allow them to develop in a way that would truly benefit their people.

—Ellen Mass is a member of the Latin America Working Group.