There is no positive role for the United States to play in the Global South. The expansion of the racist doctrine of Manifest Destiny through the policies of the Monroe Doctrine asserted the supremacy of the United States in the Western Hemisphere and greatly expanded the project and aims of settler colonialism. From the coup in Guatemala to oust democratically elected Jacobo Arbenz in 1954 to the creation of the School of the Americas (now WHINSEC) and the counterinsurgency and low intensity wars waged in Latin America throughout the 1960’s to 1990’s, US imperialism has injured, exploited, and destabilized the lives and governance of our relatives in South and Central America.
More recently the United States has overthrown the government of Honduras in 2009. Indigenous activists such as Roberta “Berta” Caceres have been murdered and brutalized for standing up to multinational corporations seeking to open up their lands for resource extraction. And this is a pattern of US-backed right wing governments—the death and destruction of the humble people of the earth. From Colombia where Indigenous and union activists are regularly targeted for assassination to the recent interference in the Brazilian elections, the systematic dissolution of human rights and democracy always follows US intervention, “humanitarian” and otherwise.
In Brazil, a right wing administration headed by Jair Messias Bolsonaro has, by openly declaring activists with the Landless Workers Movement (MST in Spanish) “terrorists,” and by taking away governmental protections and recognition of Indigenous peoples, declared war on the environment, the poor, and Indigenous peoples who stand in the way of resource extraction and capitalist development. It is no coincidence that his government has endorsed the recent coup attempts in Venezuela.
This current coup attempt by the United States to overthrow the democratically elected government of Venezuela comes from seventeen years of failure of trying to get rid of the socialist project initiated by Hugo Chavez. The administration of George W. Bush successfully ousted Chavez in 2002, but the people of Venezuela forced the return of Chavez to power by popular will. This groundswell of support for the Bolivarian Revolution is what causes us to reflect, study, and challenge the narratives imperialist nations put forward about the current Venezuelan government.
What we know for sure is that Venezuela, through the process of the Bolivarian Revolution, has seen increases in participation in social, economic, and political life from Indigenous peoples, Women, LGBTQ, Africans, and poor people. This has been a project from the left and from below. The Venezuelan people are working to create a future that is shaped by their participation and we must respect our relatives and their right to self-determination.
The current coup attempt is directly connected to immigration and refugees. From these countries, thousands have fled poverty and violence fueled by US economic, political, or military intervention, with a significant amount of violence caused by the US-led war on drugs. Humble people are left with no options but to flee with their families including children. They make the perilous trip through Mexico to the US border seeking refuge. The United States either beats them back with tear gas, violating its own federal laws on refugee and asylum status, or imprisons them in detention camps where families are separated and where many die.
Continuing the policies enacted against Indigenous peoples inside the borders of the United States, immigrant children are being ripped from their families and being placed in camps, as well as being put up for adoption. Parents of children are being deported. LGBTQ immigrants and refugees are targets of gender and sexual violence and face the constant threat of outright murder.
We need a new anti-imperialist realignment. Defeating a border wall has to be tied to defeating US military interventions that back corporate agendas in South and Central America. These interventions have to be seen in the context of what is currently unfolding in Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Bolivia, Brazil, and Guatemala. It must be about realignment.
We should seek to de-center the US by trying to undermine its violent hegemony. We should see ourselves as connected with all the people of this earth, with our relatives in the South, and not with the ruling class whether Democrat or Republican. And from this understanding we must take action.
Our work in The Red Nation has been to welcome our relatives from the South onto our lands and territories, in direct defiance to the claims of the United States over our lands and lives. We do not recognize the borders, boundaries, and authority of the United States to separate us from other human beings.
We are forging new relationships, rooted in the history of peoples from this hemisphere having relationships with our relatives in the south. We send revolutionary greetings to all of our comrades and relatives resisting imperialism, colonialism, and capitalism. In particular, we turn to our comrade Evo Morales, the Indigenous president of Bolivia, to offer up his words in this time of terrible danger:
Our solidarity with the Venezuelan people and our brother Nicolas Maduro, in these decisive hours in which the claws of imperialism seek again to mortally wound the democracy and self-determination of the peoples of South America.