Hegemonism will cost US popularity in Latin America

By Wang Wenwen Source:Global Times Published: 2018/9/9 21:28:39

According to media reports, US officials secretly met several times over the last year with Venezuelan military officers who were plotting a coup against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. Washington ultimately decided against supporting the coup.

Venezuela, which descended into political and economic chaos last August, has been a point of focus for Trump and viewed by the US president as one of his top three national security priorities, alongside Iran and North Korea.

In the face of deterioration within the South American country, Trump came up with a military option, which could have meant an invasion and the removal of President Maduro from power.

Trump reportedly had serious discussions about it with his top advisors, who discouraged it. However, he continued to push his idea on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in September last year. He allegedly brought up the issue to leaders of four Latin American countries, but eventually failed to garner support from them.

But one never knows what the next step of the US is. The US could resort to its common tactic of hegemonism at any time.

The White House declined to comment on the supposed secret meetings between US officials and Venezuelan military officers, but said in a statement that the US continues to support "a peaceful, orderly return to democracy in Venezuela."

Such rhetoric may sound familiar, as we have heard it before in the cases of Libya and Syria. But have peace and order returned to these two countries? Quite the contrary. The military approach, with a "regime change" purpose, has claimed millions of victims and promoted violence, war and instability. It has already cost the US popularity in the Middle East. It would unavoidably bring the US more of the same in Latin America, where fewer people see the US favorably under Trump, according to a Pew survey in 2017.

Within Latin America, regional countries such as Mexico and Chile have been critical of President Maduro's government over food shortages and hyperinflation, as well as rights and democracy issues. But they do not want to see a regime change by non-political means and have tried to mediate Venezuela's situation through talks.

In recent years, relations between China and Latin America have gained positive momentum. Some within the US have suggested the White House pay more attention to Latin American countries so as not to lose the region to China. But China is not the decisive factor for the chill in US-Latin America ties.

While China's increased involvement in the region is out of its own development needs, the changes in ties between Washington and Latin America are a result of the US hegemonic mentality - it views the region as its backyard rather than from an equal perspective. If Washington insists on unilateral actions, it will not hold on to the region; instead, it will be abandoned.

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