By Owei Lakemfa
ON the one hand, Africa is the foot mat of the West and United States,US. When going out or coming in, they wipe their feet on Africa. On the other, Latin America is their backyard where they play games including hide and seek.
Historically, what America wants, it gets or takes. When it eyed the beautiful lands of its neighbour, Mexico, first it landed troops around Texas that was part of Mexico until 1836. When Mexico refused to sell part of its lands known as California and New Mexico, the Americans engineered a war in May 1846. After defeating the Mexican Army in September 1847, they forced Mexico on February 2, 1848 to sign the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Under it, Mexico was made to renounce any claims to Texas and was forced to ‘sell’ an additional 525,000 square miles of its land to the US for $15million. These lands are today, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Arizona and Wyoming.
The West and US invaded Latin America at will and turned them into what became known as Banana Republics; small states forced to depend on a single product like banana owned or controlled by a foreign country.
Perhaps, no country in the world has been as frequently invaded by another than Nicaragua; scores of times! One of those who invaded Nicaragua was an American journalist, William Walker. He set up a private American army with which in 1853, he invaded North-West Mexico declaring his conquered territory, ‘Republic of California.’ He was later defeated by the Mexican army. Next, he invaded and conquered Nicaragua which he ruled as a dictator for one year. It was when he invaded Honduras on August 5, 1860, the British seized and handed him to Honduras soldiers who executed him. Early in the 20th Century, America invaded and occupied Nicaragua for more than three decades.
When Nicaraguan youths overthrew the American puppet, General Anastasio Somoza in 1979, the Reagan administration set about to overthrow the Nicaraguan government. It included the US mining and blowing up civilian ships in the ports and establishing a terrorist organisation, the Contras which for years, attacked the country. Today, America has succeeded in neutralising the Nicaraguan Revolution.
America invaded and occupied tiny Cuba first for four years from 1898, and for three years from 1906. It then turned the country into a big casino and prostitution centre run by its Mafia. When Cuban youths overthrew the American puppets in January 1959, American mercenaries and troops carried out a failed invasion on April 17, 1961. In 1962, it imposed a commercial, economic and financial embargo to cripple Cuba. That embargo remains in force until this day.
The Americans invaded and seized Puerto Rico on July 25, 1898 and tried to make it an American territory by signing the Treaty of Paris with Spain, the former colonial master of the country. But Spain could not give what it did not have.
The US has officially invaded and occupied Honduras seven times; 1903, 1907, 1911, 1912, 1919, 1924 and 1925. Honduras remains an American playground.
The US invaded and occupied Haiti on July 28, 1915. It occupied the Dominican Republic for eight years from 1916 and when it withdrew in 1924, it put itself in charge of collecting all revenue and custom duties in the country for the next 17 years!
President Jacobo Arbenz of Guatemala was elected and sworn in on March 15, 1951. His administration expanded voting rights, assisted workers to organise and promoted free speech. But when he decided to re-distribute land to some 500,000 poor farmers, the American United Fruit Company kicked. The fact that the government was paying compensation did not matter. The US organised a bloody coup coordinated by its State Department and Central Intelligence Agency, CIA.
In 1970, Salvador Allende was elected President of Chile. That he was popularly elected was not the business of the US who saw him as an enemy because he was left-leaning. In one of the bloodiest coups in history, a CIA and ITT Corporation-organised coup toppled him. The coup plotters killed thousands of Chileans and detained over 40,000. In later years, thousands more were murdered by the plotters led by General Augusto Pinochet.
One of the most bizarre American invasions with no sensible reason, was the invasion of tiny Grenada in October 1983. It is a tiny spec of 348 square kilometres with a population of 91,000, 80 per cent of them, African. The radical New Jewel Movement led by Maurice Bishop had in 1979, overthrown the government of Eric Gairy, the weird Prime Minister who was more interested in UFOs and extraterrestrial life. A 1983 coup by Deputy Prime Minister, Bernard Coard had resulted in the killing of the charismatic Bishop. The US claimed that the coup posed a threat to the region, invaded and occupied Grenada.
This week’s target of attack by the West and America, is Venezuela whose oil reserves are quite tantalising. They gave the country an impossible ultimatum to organise and hold new general elections for an estimated 18.5 million voters in one week! But elections are not the reason for the planned invasion in which America is expected to contribute 5,000 troops. President Donald Trump had in 2017, repeatedly raised the issue of invading Venezuela, that is over one year before that country’s election in 2018 which President Nicholas Maduro won by 67.8 per cent.
I am not sure what democracy France can teach Venezuela when the Macron government cannot even tolerate basic protests by the Yellow Vests. In contrast, the opposition in Venezuela have never recognised Maduro since he was first elected on April 14, 2013 by 79.268 per cent of the 18,904,364 votes cast. Which country in the world will accept a man going to a rally to proclaim himself President?
In my August 4, 2017 column titled: Venezuela: Replacing Democracy With Anarchy, I had written: “…none of those countries condemning Venezuela or threatening sanctions will tolerate an opposition that would not accept the democratic will of the majority, openly works for a coup, has made the country ungovernable for four years, has hijacked a helicopter, dropped grenades on a public institution, and would not accept dialogue.” The country has also been subjected to crippling sanctions resulting in severe shortages.
Over the centuries, America and the West have behaved like goons, seizing other peoples’ lands and wealth, enslaving millions, carrying out genocide in Australia and Central America; their leaders in the 21st Century have not repented from such practices hence they have trampled on countries like Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and Syria, sowing death, destruction, misery and poverty, Venezuela is next on their agenda. We must stand with the people of Venezuela as they resist the barbarism about to be visited on them.