By Marcelo Colussi, Argentine university professor, political scientist and columnist.
In all of the countries in this area, the national project -since the birth of the local aristocracies- has always been very weak.
These oligarchies and “their” countries were not born in pursuit of a sustainable national project, with an expansionist vocation: on the contrary, dedicated since their origin to primary agro-export production for foreign markets, their history is marked by dependence, and by “malinchismo”.
Oligarchies with an inferiority complex, always looking outside their borders for points of reference, racist and discriminatory with respect to the original peoples -which they never ceased to use for their accumulation as an exploiting class-, their history is linked to external powers (Spain or Portugal first, then the United Kingdom and, as of the Monroe Doctrine, the United States).
The United States rules here. Why? Not because of an intrinsic wickedness of Washington´s ruling Hawks: it is the prevailing socio-economic system that allows it. Today´s capitalism, globalized and dominating the international scene, has in the United States its main exponent.
The mega-capitals that run the world remain, to a fundamental extent, American, they speak English and are governed by the dollar. This unbridled capitalism increasingly needs raw materials and energy.
The enthronement of the “American way of life” leads to an endless consumption of resources. Guaranteeing those resources and energy sources explains the policy towards the region.
Now, given the historical dynamics of the peoples, that is changing. The United States is ceasing to be the hyper-dominating superpower, and new elements are coming into play: China, competing as equals economically, and Russia as a military affront.
Latin America becomes part of its logic for global domination, above all, as a supplier of raw materials and energy sources. Twenty-five percent of all the resources consumed by the United States comes from Latin America.
It is essential to know that of the different planetary reserves, 35 percent of hydropower, 27 percent of coal, 24 percent of oil, eight percent of gas and five percent of uranium are found in this region.
To which, we must add 40 percent of the world´s biodiversity and 25 percent of the Earth´s forest coverage, as well as, important deposits of strategic minerals (bauxite, coltan, lithium, niobium, thorium), in addition to iron, fundamental for cutting-edge technologies (including the military), driven by US capitalism.
On the other hand, the Latin American zone allows cheap labor for production transferred from its territory (maquilas, assemblers, call centers) and, despite the current anti-immigration policies, increasingly restrictive, the region continues to provide almost free human resources for industry, agriculture and services through the endless armies of undocumented immigrants who continue to arrive there, fleeing the poverty of their countries, seeking “salvation” in the supposed American paradise.
There is an immoral doble discourse: the door is closed to them, at the same time that they are needed for the subordinate jobs that no American citizen wants; and for such work, irregular immigrants (the “wet) are paid substantially lower wages, subjected to unsafe and unhealthy working conditions, and prevented from protesting.
On the other hand, it holds Latin American countries captive through economic chains.
This is evidenced by what was said some years ago by then Secretary of State Colin Powell, of the Bush Jr. Administration, who referring to the recolonization project sought with the ¡Free? Trade Treaties that forced Latin American countries to sign (regardless of whether the original idea of a collective agreement -Free Trade Area for the Americas, FTAA, did not work, then signing these bilateral treaties): “Our objective with the FTAA is to guarantee for American companies the control of a territory that goes from the Arctic to Antarctica and free access, without any obstacle or difficulty, to our products, services, technology and capital in the entire Hemisphere.”
The area´s unpayable external debts tightened the tiesof dependence with the Northern power.
To protect all of this there are more than 70 hi-tech US military bases installed in the area. Given the secrecy of this sort of information, there is no certainty of the exact number of military installations, but it is known that they are there and that they do not stop growing, which is complemented by the Fourth Naval Fleet, destined to operate throughout Central and South America.
The fact is that its high firepower, its possibility of very fast mobility and its intelligence actions with the most sophisticated monitoring and espionage technologies, allow Washington total control of the area.
Few have dared to get out of this yoke: Cuba, Nicaragua, at a certain time, Bolivia, Venezuela. in its own way. Do not these countries have the right to choose their destiny? How long will Washington´s arrogant interference last?