In trying to revive the Monroe Doctrine as a policy instrument towards Latin America, the Donald Trump administration is trying to take back history to where exactly it was in 1823 when that pattern was announced by then U.S. President James Monroe based on the premise of America for the Americans. Although the world has changed and today, and it is not Great Britain which threatens the U.S. hegemony in the region, the government of the United States keeps imagining enemies creating obstacles to its unrestricted control of the only region in the world in which it still maintains broads swathes of domination, above all in the last three years.
The former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson put the agenda on the table in “denouncing” the growing presence of China and Russia with the argument that only the United States is the natural friend of the Latin American and Caribbean countries. In his speech of February 1 at the University of Texas, Austin, he stated that the Monroe Doctrine was “as relevant today as the day it was written,” later adding, in mentioning China and Russia, that “Latin America does not need new imperial powers”.
More recently in August, during the visit of the Defense Secretary James Mattis to four countries in the south of the continent that maintain a submissive approach to the United States, the Pentagon boss reiterated what was said six months ago by his colleague in the administration. To make matters worse — the rhetoric now emanating from someone who embodies the military power of the most powerful and aggressive country on the planet — Mattis affirmed that “foreign powers have been noticed conducting themselves in Latin America”, in clear reference to China and Russia.
In the case of China, the U.S. worry relates to its growing economic, financial and commercial deficit in the region against an activity in the contrary direction by the Asian giant. Between 2000 and 2007, for example, U.S. exports to Latin America declined from 50% in total to 33% while in the same period, those from China increased from 3% to 18%. Nevertheless, the budgetary reductions of the United States has not entailed military spending which increased for 2019 up to $686 billion which, added to the intelligence spending that is not allocated by the Pentagon, reaches a figure approaching a trillion dollars. This, according to the Chilean analyst Hugo Fazio, makes the amount, as confirmed by the White House presentation, “the highest in relative terms to the total budget in all of Pentagon's history”, enabling Mattis to affirm that the United States would achieve supremacy in its geostrategic confrontation with Russia and China.
These data provide information to measure the extent of the danger that the “rebirth” of the Monroe Doctrine signifies for the region after the apparent death certificate that Barack Obama had signed and show that the imperial powers are willing to do everything to maintain their supremacy in Latin America and the Caribbean region.
El Salvador has cut diplomatic relations with Taiwan and has decided to establish it with Beijing. On 21 August 2018, the Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, and his Salvadorean counterpart, Carlos Castañeda, signed the respective documents (photo) in Beijing, in which El Salvador promised to recognise “only one China”, that is to say the mainland, considering Taiwan as “a rebel island”.
A rhetoric very much in the 19th century style, associated with the practices and methods that emanated from the Monroe Doctrine, came to light with the sovereign decision of the government of El Salvador to break relations with Taiwan and establish it instead with the People's Republic of China, accepting the viewpoint of “one single China”. The announcement by the President of the country, Salvador Sanchez, on August 20, was answered just one day later by the U.S. ambassador Jean Manes who, in a rude and interventionist declaration completely out of tune with diplomatic practice, informed that her country was analysing the decision. Manes declared in a threatening tone that the U.S. support which El Salvador received was based on “clear and transparent rules”. The curious thing about it was that the “transparency” did not refer to the auditable logic of her country's cooperation but that of the earlier negotiations between El Salvador and China to arrive at an agreement in establishing relations. The Yankee “diplomat” asked, “What kind of negotiations went on behind closed doors? If all is well for yourselves (El Salvador), why not do it in a transparent manner? Why isn't it being said what agreements have been sorted out with this country (China)? These are the questions the Salvadoreans should ask of their government in asking for transparency.” “Transparency is when a country negotiates consulting all sectors and its population about such an important decision which could have repercussion for decades,” she added. Without concealing her desperation at the decision, Manes “sweated blood” while claiming that there were two ways of attracting good investment for El Salvador and this had to do with transparency and clear rules. “This is the only way of attracting quality investment to increase employment and improve the quality of life for the Salvadoreans,” she said. If all this were not true and dangerous, the only things it could produce were sarcasm, laughs and astonishment. All the white and powerful nations of the north of the planet have relations with China, including all of NATO, but El Salvador should have to ask the United States permission to do so.
Five days later, to leave no doubts about the imperial arrogance under the Monroe Doctrine, and presaging what loomed over countries that still maintained diplomatic relations with Taiwan, the imperial verbal diarrhoea crept up to one of the firmest U.S. allies in the region. Reminding “President” Juan Orlando Hernandez that he owed his fraudulently-obtained post to the United States and the OAS which endorsed the illegality of his “election”, the chargé d'affaires of the U.S. embassy in Honduras, Heide Fulton, imitating her colleague in El Salvador affirmed that “[the] countries that seek to establish or broaden relations with China might be disappointed in the long run”. The warning, which foretells an imminent tendency, embodies how important it is for the Hondurans to evaluate which country has been, and continues to be, a close and constant partner in the search for a better future for Honduras.
This declaration registers with the previous announcement of the White House spokeswoman, Sarah Sanders, on August 23, Thursday, that, “The world over governments are taking note of the fact that China's economic incentives provoke economic dependence and domination, not association”, later adding that her country would keep “opposing” China's “political interference” in the western hemisphere.
After reading these “magnificent” pieces of anti-diplomacy which the United States practises, one asks if these three ladies know anything of the history of the foreign policy of their country towards Latin America. At the risk of sounding repetitive, I will repeat what I wrote about three weeks ago, but it seems necessary for me to ask if these troglodytes of the U.S. government know that their country invaded Latin America 48 times and that, moreover, installed and protected in power Stroessner, Pinochet, Videla, Banzer, Trujillo, Batista, Somoza and numerous other satraps who became full of themselves in the countries of our region, causing tens of thousands of deaths, tortured and disappeared throughout the terrain of our continent. We have no knowledge of China ever having done this and... of dependency it is not even worth speaking about. Even today it would be enough to ask about Macri, Temer, Piñera, Bachelet, Santos, Uribe, Duque, Peña Nieto and company.
The United Nations has recognised since 1971 that there is only one China and that Taiwan is a rebel province. It is well known that it is sustained by the military power of the United States violating the rules of international rights and of peaceful co-existence among nations. Has anyone asked what would happen if Hawaii rebelled and the People's Republic of China were to sell its arms, give it protection and support its incorporation as an independent nation? Everyone can formulate their own answer.
Nevertheless this farce is close to its conclusion. With the establishment of relations between El Salvador and China, only 17 countries maintain — for different reasons — relations with Taiwan; of them 9 in Latin America and the Caribbean. In this region, during the past few months too, Panama and the Dominican Republic have taken the route of recognising Beijing as the only representative of the Chinese people in the international scenario. It is to be expected that in the next few months or years, Washington will have to emit 17 new threats before an irreversible reality and tune in to the current times.
Note: At the time of writing this article (9/9/2018), information has come through that the United States has recalled its ambassadors in the Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Panama for consultations with these countries breaking relations with Taiwan.