by Luis Vega
A problem that has longed plagued Latin America is its political corruption and economic instability. It does not matter what type of government is in place, it is the corruption within each regime whether it be democratic or authoritarian that stagnates the progress of many countries. Instability in the political system is the force that drives evil in Latin America. There are two points in over the last one hundred years that have played pivotal roles in the positive/negative prosperity in countries in Latin America.
What to Do Next?
Post-colonial Latin America left many wondering what to do next after the occupying forces had left. The effects of World War I also played a large role economically, with decrease in trade, and the crash of the stock market in 1929. Latin Americans have sought leadership in military leaders, democratic leaders, socialist leaders, and anybody that they honestly thought could bring about stability in their region even if it meant involving the United States which boasts the largest military, economic stability, democracy, protection, and many other attractive perks. The problem with the United States involvement is over involvement.
The fate of Latin America has still not been decided because most countries, if not all, have long been inundated with the tug of war effects of democracy and authoritarianism. It doesn’t really matter which of two is in power but it will be a system of corruption and instability. When backed up by superpowers such as the United States and to a certain extent Great Britain countries in Latin America have benefited economically. It didn’t really matter whether the government was authoritarian or even democracy as long as the superpowers were able to benefit and even occupy the countries they claimed to be so interested in.
Wishes from the Outside
With political leaders adhering to the wishes of the United States, the United States will not pressure political leaders even if they are committing horrifying acts against their people. The United States will wash its hands of human rights violations as long as they are not directly involved in a particular situation. As was the case in Honduras in the early 1980’s, there were massive amounts of killings prompted by the Honduran military. All the killings were politically motivated and later sanctioned by the Central Intelligence Agency occupying Honduras at the time of Civil War. These gruesome details were hidden for about 17 years, while the people of Honduras have demanded that classified files be declassified.
“Latin American leaders have evolved historically from system of elitism, hierarchal, authoritarianism, corporatism, and patrimonialism. On the other hand leaders in the United States have usually evolved as a liberal democrat.” (Latin American Politics and Development, p. 11)
The United States have vested much interest in Latin America for several reasons. Since the days of colonial and post colonial Latin America, the Monroe Doctrine of 1823 stated no new nation fall in the powers of Europe. United States private business owners have devoted much capital and energy in agribusiness in the form of selling bananas, and fruits (United Fruit Company) and ventured out in petroleum, copper, and iron ore and wherever the United States is involved on a corporate level, it usually includes involvement on the political field.
If the United States stays involved in countries politics there is less of a chance of that country involving its government in the Marxist-Leninist brand of socialism? These are Cold War ideologies that have been prevalent since Castro’s triumphant revolutionary victory in Cuba, the Sandinista movement in Nicaragua, and others just like it. Fear of another Cuba in the Western Hemisphere was a big problem during the Cold War era, and was a situation that was tackled with tenacity by those who did not want to see a pattern of revolution begin to form.
Wherever the United States was involved it made sure that its presence was felt, with threats of cutting off foreign aid if certain American policies were not adopted. New politicians now know how much capital private investors have put in to their countries and the fact that it provides managerial positions for natives, jobs for the lower working class, and most importantly interest from the United States provides protection in time of a crisis. Countries conform to American ideologies with expectations of obtaining all the perks of foreign investment. The problem on the other hand is that people lose their sense of nationalism and don’t feel like they are the ones running their country anymore and this is when rebellion occurs.
In the eyes of a third world Latin American country an interested United States is a place to turn to in time of crisis. It also gives foreign aid, in some cases with billions of American taxpayer’s dollars going toward that country and its economic inconsistencies. Military intervention by the United States is the biggest turn on for the small insignificant third world country.
On the other hand, with too much interference and American thought processes (as their way is the only way), one can lose a sense of being. There is too much emphasis and reliance by these countries on the United States. When there is no America to rely on and one gets completely cut off from imperialism and Western democracy situations like the one in Cuba become ripe with promise. The situation in Cuba is nothing more than forty years of ideologies and big egos. With tighter restrictions imposed by President George W. Bush on the amount of capital Cuba receives from Americans whether they be relatives or not, he claims that once Castro dies and is replaced, these restrictions will “help smooth Cuba’s transition into democracy.” Although military intervention and protection can be a big plus for many small countries it can also bring about intervention that isn’t wanted or needed. The United States is a big machine and if one does not play by their rules punishment will follow. The way America treats other countries is that of a puppet master controlling the puppets to move in the direction they need them to move in order to benefit the machine and its politics.
The role of the United States is to make moves that will ultimately benefit their capitalistic ventures and imperialistic ways: Divide and Conquer. The United States should be a little more sympathetic and encouraging to countries where fate is in question and consider the fact that any person anywhere would rather die than see themselves under a government that is brutal and harsh. America need only look to its own struggle against the British Empire during the Revolutionary War for clues into the misery of tyranny. America causes anguish and despair when it acts arbitrarily in “helping” the future of a country by killing people, hiding the truth, and feeding the public lie after lie.