By Elio Delgado Legon
“The United States seems destined by Providence to plague the Americas with misery in the name of liberty.” (Simon Bolivar, in 1829)
“… preventing in time, the United States from spreading through the Antilles, and with that increased strength, overpowering our lands of America. Everything I have done to this day, and will do, is for this. (Jose Marti, in 1895).
HAVANA TIMES – Our heroes were clearly not wrong in their observations, even with 66 years between them. The United States has proclaimed themselves to be the world’s defenders of democracy, without anyone asking them to be, and this alleged defense is doing away with democracy, ironically enough, at least in Latin America which is the focus of my article today.
The era of military dictatorships, backed by the US government, is still fresh in the memories of Latin Americans, with its great wake of murders, disappearances and torture, and the terrible and criminal consequence of Operation Condor, which was created to assassinate Latin America’s left-wing leaders.
When military dictatorships were no longer sustainable because of popular struggles, a new era dawned in the region and democracy was slowly established, albeit fixed because money was used to impose candidates who were more in line with US policy and the interests of national oligarchies.
The failure of neoliberal politics, which has caused immense suffering for the region’s general population, slowly got it into people’s heads that this wasn’t the right path and progressive and leftist governments slowly gained ground, managing to change the landscape of misery and exploitation imposed by the capitalists in power, in spite of money pressure and media propaganda (which also belong to the oligarchy).
Taking the rules of the capitalist democracy game as its own, Latin America’s correlation of forces swayed in the Left’s favor. Brazil, with Lula and Dilma, Argentina with Kirchner and Cristina, Venezuela with Chavez and Maduro, Ecuador with Correa, Bolivia with Evo Morales, Nicaragua with Daniel Ortega, El Salvador with Salvador Sanchez, Paraguay with Fernando Lugo, Uruguay with Tabare Vazquez, Honduras with Manuel Zelaya. All of them came into power democratically via the polls, but when democracy doesn’t serve Imperialism’s interests, democracy has to be violated in order to impose meek governments who serve the oligarchies.
Zelaya was taken from his home in the early morning and put on a flight to Costa Rica, banned from returning to his country; Dilma was impeached for corruption, without any proof and was removed from being a president; in Argentina, they used propaganda and money to stop Cristina’s party from winning the elections, and she is now being charged with corruption without any proof.
In Venezuela, they orchestrated a coup d’etat against Chavez, which failed and he returned to power. After Chavez’s death, Nicolas Maduro won the elections and was later reelected, in fair and transparent elections which were monitored by many international bodies; however, they are now waging an economic war to make the Venezuelan people suffer so they cease to support their government. The last thing they did was a drone attack loaded with explosives in an attempt on Maduro’s life and the main political and military leaders who were with him during the ceremony. And the economic war continues.
When it finally seemed that democracy would win out in Brazil by putting the most popular leader back in power, who has done the most for the Brazilian people, Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva, he was put on trial for corruption, without any evidence and he received a 12-year prison sentence so that he couldn’t run for office. They are trying to do the same thing with Cristina in Argentina so that she can’t take part in the next elections. They want to do the same thing with Correa in Ecuador.
In Nicaragua, president Daniel Ortega was reelected with over 70% of the vote, in a country which was peaceful and whose economy was growing like never before and its social programs benefitted millions of people who were leaving extreme poverty behind which they were immersed in thanks to the neoliberal government before them. They fabricated an incident and have paid violent groups who have done away with hundreds of lives and thrown the country into chaos, demanding that Daniel Ortega resign. This despite him continuing to have mass support from the population. But, they aren’t laying down quietly, they continue to try and stage a coup d’etat.
In summary, when democracy favors oligarchies who are submissive to Imperialism, democracy is respected; but when this benefits the Left, it becomes legal to violate them and impose coup d’etats, whether these are in Parliament, the judiciary or with pressure of people who have been tricked by propaganda and the economic war, which leads me to believe that democracy in Latin America is becoming increasingly endangered.