I’ve written extensively about revolution in Venezuela; see Venezuela articles. Now the natural course of events has been interrupted by the nascent military intervention of Russia, which will expand to a Cuba-style presence unless nipped in the bud. This is the most certain prediction that can be made; a U.S. response is complicated.
There was a time when it was simple; the Monroe Doctrine of 1823 was the colonial equivalent to the spheres of influence. In practical effect, it was supplanted by the Truman Doctrine of 1949, which countered the growth of Communism. The Cuban Revolution of 1959 punched a hole in it, establishing a Russian client state only 90 miles from Miami, but the approach remained operative until Ronald Reagan’s speech of March 4, 1987, when he took full responsibility for the Iran-Contra Affair. This idea finally ran its course with the undoing of the infamous Yalta agreement, with the disintegration of the Iron Curtain in 1991.
The Monroe and Truman Doctrines were the basis for many unseemly interventions into Latin America. Although I agree with Henry Kissinger that the U.S. was not responsible for the overthrow of Salvador Allende (whose Wikipedia article is so misleading I will not quote), the patterns of U.S. influence in Chile, revolving around ITT Inc., typify the old U.S. approach towards the region. The history of the United Fruit Company, now Chiquita, gave rise to the term “banana republic”.
The patterns imitate those of classic colonialism, brought to perfection in British India. To the credit of the British, the princely states they so successfully suborned were, after a turbulent period of cultural transplantation, replaced by the world’s largest democracy. No such credit is due the U.S., which contributes to the current problem.
(Wikipedia) United States involvement in regime change in Latin America lists 12 countries in which the U.S. intervened. I suggest that the reader regard the article as a mix of fact and fiction. Guilt is sometimes equated with guilt by association. In the murky world of covert action, political elements get to tell their stories first, establishing the “conventional truth.” This is so with Allende, described in print as a “democratic Marxist”, but really an aspiring dictator, whose overthrow and death lead to brutal right-wing repression of the regime of Augusto Pinochet. In comparing two evils, one must avoid the temptation to find a false good.
The U.S. role cannot be whitewashed. The tentacles of U.S. influence, many of them corporate, cannot be denied. In some cases, the interventionist hand is clearly visible in unbiased history. The assassination of Chilean Orlando Letelier in 1976 typifies the grayness; the U.S. knew of the impending plot, and failed to act to stop it. This implies elements within the U.S. in deep sympathy with Pinochet, if only as a “bulwark against communism”. The difference between guilt, and guilt-by-association, becomes miniscule. It is no wonder that those who blame the U.S. for the 1973 overthrow of Chilean democracy own the narrative.
This is the background, the obstacle to U.S. intervention. But have a look at the map of U.S. interventions. Colombia, Paraguay, and Venezuela are blank; they have experienced only the gentle side of U.S. imperialism. Venezuela’s misery is entirely an indigenous creation. Colombia owes its current stability to U.S. support of genuine democracy.
Hence, possibilities. To be continued shortly.