What’s happening in Latin America? It seems Barack Obama is trying to reignite the Monroe Doctrine.
It started in Cuba, where he was received with honors by President Raúl Castro, who seeks to end the embargo and begin a process whose outcome no one can predict. Immediately afterward, Obama arrived in Argentina during the 40th anniversary of the coup that began a bloody dictatorship and brought on the country’s “dirty war” and tens of thousands of enforced disappearances. At the last minute, Obama decided to go to Memorial Park to pay homage to those disappeared.
For human rights organizations, the visit is a provocation. The United States promoted every coup in the region — and now it arrives to support the new center-right government. Victims do not agree with this visit, and no one would attend. The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, family members of the disappeared, Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel — they’re all emphasizing the complicity of the United States.
The new imperialism of the 21st century holds that a major offensive against progressive governments no longer requires generals and coups. Now the Nobel peace laureate Obama simply arrives with an army of 500 entrepreneurs. Market pressure, threats from development funds, the local and American judiciary and media conglomerates (and so on) contribute to destabilize governments and weigh heavily on the polls.
In Brazil, for example, the two terms of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva followed by Dilma Rousseff — and the prospect that Lula could win in 2018 — have sparked a no-holds-barred media war. Judges have joined in the fray, willing to do anything to destroy Lula’s popularity.
Mirroring the Brazilian strategy, even the Argentine newspapers have begun to announce the arrival of a flood of corruption charges against former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. But it won’t be easy for the right here during this 40th anniversary of a coup that will “nunca más” be repeated.