Venezuela Denounces U.S. Plans for Keeping Latin America and the Caribbean Under Imperialist Domination

September 22, 2019

Washington's recent invocation of the Rio Pact for the declared aim of furthering U.S. national interests in Venezuela is receiving vigorous condemnation throughout the world.

The platform chosen for pressuring the countries of the region to comply with their obligations under the Rio Pact was the Organization of American States (OAS). Less than 1/3 of the OAS member state representatives consented to go along at all with the U.S. demand. The Rio Pact is an aggressive military alliance which has long been vehemently opposed by the peoples within the United States and throughout the Western Hemisphere. It stands as a formal declaration that an attack on any American state by either an American or a foreign nation is to be considered an attack on all of those bound through the treaty and that collective military measures can be taken to repel the action.

U.S. President Truman signed off on the Rio Pact in 1947 at the Inter-American Defense meeting of the Pan-American Conference (the pan-American institution established prior to the Spanish-American war and which led to the creation of the OAS.) Such pan-American aggressive military alliances headed by the United States have long been a potent weapon in the hands of U.S. imperialism, which has always used various racist and chauvinist tools such as the Monroe Doctrine to give itself permission to carry out war and intervention in Latin America.

This month, the State Department proclaimed that invoking the Rio Pact at the request of a Venezuelan citizen would be considered evidence of "the region's support for the Venezuelan people and recognition of the increasingly destabilizing influence that the former [sic] regime of Nicolas Maduro is having on the region." The last time the U.S. argued by the Rio Pact to demand military solidarity from Latin American countries was in 2001. Since U.S. imperialism's 2001 launch of it's so-called "war against international terrorism", many Latin American countries have already withdrawn from the Rio Pact. Before the U.S. war on Iraq got underway in 2003, Mexico became the first country of the new period to do so. In 2012, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela followed suit.

On September 11, the Venezuelan government issued a Communicado denouncing the Rio Pact and U.S. demand that it be applied to Venezuela as measures aimed at securing U.S. control over the local governments of the whole of Latin America. The statement denounced the imperialist penetration of Latin America by the U.S. and expressed Venezuela's principled stance in defense of the sovereignty and economic independence of Venezuela and the right of every people to determine their own affairs free of imperialist interference. The statement reads, in part, "The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela calls upon the countries and peoples of the region to firmly reject the claims of this small group of countries that within the Organization of American States (OAS) threaten the peace and integrity of Venezuela and of the entire continent.

"Venezuela will continue to adhere to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, respect for international law, the practice of multilateralism and peace diplomacy, and in the search for dialogue amidst the diversity, coexistence and well-being of our peoples."

This latest move by Washington also gives a good indication of how U.S. imperialism plans to use the international instruments at its disposal to continue aggravating all the circumstances it can aggravate in the region for the purpose of keeping the countries of the Western Hemisphere in its grip.

Already, since launching the so-called "war against international terrorism," the U.S. has invaded and occupied Haiti, increased its direct military intervention in Colombia (openly declaring that it's waging a war against popular insurgency), tried to organize a coup d'etat and a destabilization campaign against the elected government of Venezuela. In addition, the Pentagon has been increasing its military presence throughout the region. According to 2004 testimony before Congress by General Hill of U.S. South Command, the U.S. military presence in the hemisphere is directed against "radical populists" who "are able to reinforce radical positions by inflaming anti-U.S. sentiment . . . [by] tapping in to frustrations caused by social and economic inequality." In order to deal with this "threat to U.S. national security." SouthCom plans center on integration of the armies of Latin America directly under command structure of the Pentagon through "military to military contacts as means to irrevocably institutionalize the professional nature of those militaries with which we have worked so closely over the past several decades."

Today, as in the past, U.S. maneuvers involving military force, secret agents, demagogy and deception in the region are directed squarely against the peoples. As U.S. imperialism steps up its worldwide struggle to assert itself as the sole superpower, it is asserting its "right" to increase its exploitation of Latin America and to secure its control of the hemisphere in order to suppress any opposition to the penetration of its capital.

The imposition of such conditions are intolerable for the majority of mankind. The people of Venezuela, through their struggle against dependence on foreign capital, have made and are making it clear that they are determined to replace those old exploiting relations.

The movement of the people in the U.S. to demand "Hands Off Latin America!" is an important movement for the American people. Through educational and agitational work, people keep dragging into the light of the day the brutal legacy of U.S. colonialism and targeting on-going U.S. intervention against the peoples of Latin America. A key part of this work must not only be to zero in on the role of the OAS as an instrument for U.S. imperialism's economic, political and military domination of Latin American and the Caribbean. It must also take up the broader questions of how to build up a broad movement against war and militarism.