Dec. 20, a national day of mourning due to the 1989 U.S. invasion of Panama, is a grim reminder of how the notorious U.S. foreign policy of the Monroe Doctrine has blighted the Americas for two centuries.
Back in December 1823, then U.S. President James Monroe put forward the idea that America is for Americans in his annual State of the Union address to Congress. The Monroe Doctrine thus became the cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy.
Waving the banner of the Monroe Doctrine, the United States, through military invasions and political intervention, annexed the territories of Latin American and Caribbean countries, occupied strategic locations, and constantly interfered in the domestic and foreign affairs of Latin American countries to expand its sphere of influence and maximize its interests.
Moreover, by manipulating ideology, the United States has disrupted Latin American integration and strengthened the continent’s subordinate status to the United States.
One palpable incident was 34 years ago, when the United States invaded Panama, overthrowing Manuel Antonio Noriega’s regime and intending to permanently control the Panama Canal.
The United Nations (UN) General Assembly subsequently passed a resolution to strongly deplore the action that “constitutes a flagrant violation of international law and the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of states.”
Over the past 200 years, the unilateral sanctions and forced concessions the United States has imposed on Latin American countries have fueled unremitting resistance. The United States has also pursued a Latin America policy of benefiting those who follow its lead and destroying those who resist. To counter such hegemonic arrogance, Latin American countries have joined forces to defend their legitimate rights and interests.
For a long time, Latin Americans have seen through the Monroe Doctrine, as they recognized that it is not a banner of justice that upholds peace and development in the Americas. Rather, it is a blatant attempt to carry out the idea that America is for Americans of the United States, which has always treated Latin America as a backyard to serve its own interests.
Numerous politicians and scholars on the continent continue to show the imperialistic nature of the Monroe Doctrine to the world. The resistance against U.S. aggression, intervention, economic colonization and ideological control is continuously growing in Latin American countries, and their people, with a strong will for independence and justice, have been striving to eradicate the imperialistic blight.
Latin American countries have thus pursued autonomous diplomatic policies and actively expanded cooperation with regional countries, opening up new space for their own development.
In January, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) held its seventh summit and issued the Declaration of Buenos Aires, sending a strong message of strengthening regional cooperation and integration, and opposing foreign interference.
In May, heads of state and representatives from all 12 South American countries gathered in Brazil and reached the Brasilia Consensus to promote regional cooperation. During this regional leaders’ summit, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva called for the creation of a common currency for South American trade in order to reduce the dependence on the U.S. dollar.
Nowadays, Latin America is different from what it used to be, with its economies and diplomacy being more independent, thanks to increasing regional solidarity and its rising international status. The balance of history between intervention and counter-intervention, oppression and counter-oppression is tilting in favor of the Latin American countries.
Across the world, the rise of developing countries has promoted the democratization of international relations, peace and development, as well as win-win cooperation, which has become an unstoppable trend of the time. More and more countries, big or small, have chosen to jointly build a community with a shared future for humankind. The Monroe Doctrine, which goes against the general trend of the times, is doomed to be eliminated.
In fact, the United States is aware that the Monroe Doctrine is outdated. On Nov. 18, former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry declared that the Monroe Doctrine “is over” during a meeting of the Organization of American States.
However, given the disgraceful history of U.S. double-dealing, the Monroe Doctrine may be over on paper, but the U.S. hegemonic behavior is far from over. There will surely be a “Monroe Doctrine 2.0” and even “Monroe Doctrine 3.0” in the future.
In reality, the ghost of the Monroe Doctrine lingers, and the fight against U.S. intervention and subversion will never cease. Latin America should not be the “front yard” or “backyard” of the United States. The Monroe Doctrine is definitely a thing of the past and obviously outdated.