During the Cold War, the pretext for reigning terror down upon the masses in Central and South America through U.S. imperialism was the creeping communist threat. This was used as a justification for our 1954 overthrow of Guatemala’s democratically elected government of Jacobo Arbenz, implementing a systematic campaign of political assassinations, arming murderous right-wing militias there for decades, etc. Of course, the same commie justification held for the CIA-orchestrated coup to oust the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende in Chile and installing the repressive dictatorship of General Pinochet. The elusive Soviet threat was also the pretext for Reagan’s terror war in Nicaragua and El Salvador. You get the picture.
After the wall fell, the pretext became the drug war and terrorism. Bush I invaded Panama with the justification of capturing a minor thug Manuel Noriega (previously on CIA payroll), violent militias were continually funded to fight the drug war (like now), Clinton and Plan Colombia which continues to now, Bush II attempted a coup against Hugo Chavez because apparently he was ‘against us’ as opposed to ‘with us,’ etc.
Apparently the pretext for U.S. domination of Latin America is set to change yet again. Amy Myers Jaffe’s piece in Foreign Policy doesn’t mention anything about U.S. intervention, but she intelligently predicts that the energy “center of the world” so to speak will shift to the Americas, instead of staying in the Middle East.
For half a century, the global energy supply’s center of gravity has been the Middle East. This fact has had self-evidently enormous implications for the world we live in — and it’s about to change.
By the 2020s, the capital of energy will likely have shifted back to the Western Hemisphere, where it was prior to the ascendancy of Middle Eastern megasuppliers such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in the 1960s.
She writes the “reasons for this shift are partly technological and partly political,” but oil and natural gas are likely to frame the geopolitical understanding of the Americas in the coming years. That will attract the attention of the U.S. who has been trying to exploit and command the whole region since 1823 with the Monroe Doctrine. If she’s right, and if Latin America’s recent moves towards strong independence movements doesn’t continue to resist the weight of U.S. pressure, we may be looking at a whole new pretext for a whole new set of ugly wars and interventions south of the border.