Professor Lorenzo Cano
University of HoustonWhen many democratically elected governments have pursued policies contrary to the interests of the wealthy elite in the United States, the leaders of those countries have experienced the wrath of United States intervention in its many forms, including an invasion and occupation by American troops. During the early threats leading up to theU.S. pre-emptive invasion of Iraq, a growing number of Mexicans from all levels of society began discussing the possibility of a future invasion of their own country by the United States. Was this an overreaction by a paranoid sector of Mexico’s population? Is a future invasion and occupation of México by the United States a likely scenario in the foreseeable future? Could events in México crystallize into an illegal invasion of our southern neighbor? This may not be such a far-fetched possibility in light of current U.S. foreign policy and the thrust towards a new world order by certain U.S. economic and political elites and other fanatics such as Dick Cheney.Like George W. Bush, many presidents before him have also overwhelmingly supported governments that were anti-democratic and in many cases brutal dictators as long as they had generally appeased the policies of the rich and powerful in the United States. Through a variety of means the United States has intervened in many countries to the disadvantage of democratic forces in power or seeking power at this time. Among some of the countries that either of these two scenarios have occurred are: Guatemala, Chile, Columbia, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Cuba, Panama, Granada, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and others including Mexico. (see http://www.venezuelafoia.info)Historical Patterns of InterventionAbraham Lincoln spoke passionately as a United States congressman in 1846 accusing the newly elected President, James K. Polk, of pursuing a policy of military aggression against the Republic of Mexico. Mexico’s refusal to sell some of its land in northwestern Mexico (now seen as part of the U. S. Southwest) incensed Polk and his followers of Manifest destiny. Manifest destiny was a growing racist ideology. It was a belief in the inevitable territorial expansion of the United States, especially as advocated by southern slaveholders who wished to extend slavery into new te rritories. Unfortunately for Mexico, as protested by Lincoln, United States troops entered, at best, disputed territory between the Nueces River (current day Corpus Christi) and Brownsville, Texas, and then proceeded to establish a naval blockade of the Rio Bravo (Rio Grande), an act of war under international law. Mexico subsequently lost half its territory which played up to the interests of southern slave owners. After the war economic elites in the United States saw the land as an opportunity for commerce and new wealth.LandscapeToday Mexico is going through a new political era. The election of Vicente Fox as the current President of Mexico, and the shakeup of the PRI (Partido Revolucionario Institucional) has been part of this new political metamorphosis. With Mexico’s Presidential elections to be held in 2006 it is possible that someone from the PRD (Partido Revolucionario Democratico) could be elected. A supporter of Mexico’s popular sectors (urban working class, rural poor, indigenous, students, consumers, etc.) the PRD currently expects to run Andres Manuel Lopez-Obrador for President. A Lopez-Obrador victory or some other populist individual could very likely upset the supporters of the new world order as envisioned and carried out by a minority of U.S. policymakers, such as Cheney and Bush. Issues such as the rescinding of the NAFTA treaty by Mexico, and an assertive stance against the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas, are all potential events that could crystallize into some type of U.S. intervention in Mexico. Think this is impossible or not very likely?In 1914 U.S. troops invaded Mexico, again occupying Veracruz for over six months using several minor incidents as a rationale for this intervention, including the detention of a mail courier, the delay of an official Department of State dispatch, and the arrest of some American sailors. The real reason was U.S President Woodrow Wilson‘s disdain for Mexican President Victoriano Huerta whom he felt did not fit the model of a democratic leader. Although Huerta had taken power by force during the Mexican Revolution (1910-1917) Wilson’s action of sending an occupational military force was an over-reaction. It aroused a deep hatred and resentment against the U.S.government by Mexicans at all levels of society, including many opponents of Huerta.In 1932 the people of El Salvador rose up against the dictatorship in that country and challenged the small wealthy elite that owned sixty percent of all the land, yet this wealthy elite only made up two percent of the population. Through United States intervention over 30,000 Salvadorans were massacred in that tiny Central American country. A U.S. cruiser and two navy destroyers were present off the coast of El Salvador while the killings were being committed by Salvadoran military forces. The main concern of the U.S. government was that business opportunities not be compromised by the democratic forces in rebellion. As a result of U.S. intervention, El Salvador continued with authoritative governments until the 1980’s after another popular uprising.Depletion of World Oil and Gas ReservesAccording to the American Petroleum Institute the current reserves of oil and natural gas throughout the world are expected to become depleted by around the year 2040. And if and when Mexico decides to cut back its oil exports and save its reserves for its own use or charge higher prices, it is very likely that the powers at be in the United States will find ways of intervening in Mexico. This could come in the form of assasinations of altruistic, populist political leaders in Mexico, the funding of conservative, right-wing opposition leaders, or through other means including an invasion and occupying force.Think that this could never happen? History has shown us that such a scenario is not out of the ordinary. It occurred in 1846, 1914 and on numerous other occasions against Mexico. Haití is the latest Carribean country, an island nation, to see its democratic system crumble with U.S. assistance. Its president was taken out of office with force by antidemocratic groups with the support of George W. Bush and U.S. soldiers just last February while everyone’s attention has been focused on the war in Iraq.The National Endowment for Democracy: Working Against DemocracyThe National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is a U.S. government sponsored organization that does the opposite of what its name implies. Funded by U.S. taxpayer’s money, the NED primarily channels money to organizations and individuals in foreign countries that are trying to dispose of democratically elected officials. This has been the case since its establishment during the Presidency of Ronald Reagan after the CIA was discovered to have been involved in undermining democracy throughout the world by causing the destabilization of democratic governments. In fact, the NED has interfered in the domestic affairs of other countries by funding selected groups in those societies that object to the policies of their government, especially when those governments have passed or supported reforms to empower workers and the poor at the expense of large and wealthy corporations.Critics of NED object to the U.S. intervening in the elections of other countries. Most Americans would be opposed to other governments intervening in U.S. Presidential and Congressional elections by sending money to opposition groups; money that could be used for campaigns and all the activities associated with this. As one writer put it, …NED uccessfully manipulated elections in Nicaragua in 1990, and was busy working in Haiti in the late 1990’s on behalf of right wing groups who were united in their opposition to former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide and his progressive ideologia (see: http://members.aol.com/superogue/ned.htm).Mexico Could be Future TargetPast illegal and historical patterns of intervention in México and Latin America, along with Bush and Cheney’s (and others like them) move towards a new world order for the wealthy, has set the stage for a possible future invasion of Mexico and other Latin American countries. Mexico’s changing political landscape towards a more democratic and independent society and the likely trend towards the depletion of gas and oil reserves throughout the world lends credence to this very possibility. Regardless of which party controls the White House the potential threat of a U.S. military invasion is still a likely scenario in that both democratic and republican parties have historically shared similar views in the area of foreign policy. Even Jimmy Carter, while he was President, supported world regimes that engaged in arresting dissenters and that used torture and murder such as the governments in the Philippines, Nicaragua, Indonesia, Israel, and Iran.The American people that believe in democracy must challenge the current reckless foreign policy of modern-day manifest destiny and develop a new one based on the sovereignty of nations, dialogue, and mutual respect. Chicano and other Latino leaders at all levels of society (writers journalists, actors, union members, college students) must play a courageous role in this area and challenge the bellicose, inhumane, and fundamentally racist foreign policy that has been part of the American agenda for far too long.
Lorenzo Cano is a long-time political activist and a veteran of the Chicano Movement. He has lectured extensively on issues pertinent to the Chicano and Chicana community in the United States and is one of the founders and a contributing writer to La Nueva Raza. He currently teaches at the University of Houston.
Posted by: Conrado Garcia Jamin