The history of U.S. relations with Latin America is a story of imperialism, exploitation, and crimes against humanity. Eduardo Galeano’s book, “Open Veins of Latin American,” is an excellent introduction to this history. Greg Grandin’s 2006 book, “Empire’s Workshop,” and Naomi Klein’s more-recent book, “The Shock Doctrine,” cover issues of modern economic and military imperialism in the region. From the Monroe Doctrine to the School of the Americas, the tax dollars of U.S. citizens have been used to sell arms to cruel militias, install and uphold brutal dictators, train anti-communist insurgencies in torture methods, implement trade policies that increase extreme poverty and inequality, and undermine democratic movements. But there are hopeful signs on the horizon.
In recent years, many Latin American nations are declaring their independence from U.S. intervention. They are freeing themselves of debt that make them beholden to U.S. corporate interests, and they are beginning a trend toward regional unification. This resistance is a major challenge to U.S. authority in the region–leading the Council on Foreign Relations to pronounce the Monroe Doctrine “obsolete.”
I have put together some notable points from various source below, including information about President Obama’s track record in Latin America.