In late 1889, the government of U.S. President Benjamin Harrison organized the First Pan American Conference, which would mark the launch of U.S. “Pan-Americanism,” from then on expressed as the country’s economic and political domination of the Americas under the pretext of “continental unity.” It was a revival of the Monroe Doctrine of December 2, 1823 just as U.S. capitalism was driving forward imperialist expansion.
Regarding the conference, and from within the very jaws of the beast, in his condition as Consul of Uruguay, José Martí, key witness to the emergence of this imperialist monster, stated in Argentine newspaper La Nación that: “Never in America, of independence here, was there an issue that required more careful consideration, more attention, a more detailed and clear examination, than the invitation being offered by the powerful United States, replete with unsellable products, and determined to extend its control over America, to weaker nations, bound by free and useful trade to the people of Europe, to tighten a cord around Europe and close off deals with the rest of the word. Spanish America was able to save itself from the tyranny of Spain, and now, after witnessing with perceptive eyes the history, causes, and facets of this invitation, it must be said, because it is the truth, that the time for Spanish America to declare its second independence has arrived.”
Of course, Martí’s astute political analysis and sharp mind proved to be right.
From 1899 through 1945, over the course of eight similar conferences, three consultative meetings and various conferences on specific issues, the U.S. began to gradually cement its political, economic, and military dominance throughout Latin America, until the OAS was founded in 1948, as part of the International Conference of American States in Bogotá, March 30-May 2, during which popular Liberal Party leader Jorge E. Gaitán was murdered.
The event sparked massive riots known as the Bogotazo, which were brutally repressed and significantly impacted the direction and outcomes of the conference. The U.S. cited the unrest as proof of the threat posed to democracy by the rise of the Soviet Union and communism.
History shows that the Organization of American States was created to become a key legal tool in the efforts of the United States to assert its control of the continent. This was recently demonstrated during U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s speech on June 4 during the 48th session of the organization’s General Assembly, which Raúl Roa, former Cuban Minister of Foreign Affairs, affectionately known as the Foreign Minister of Dignity – referred to as the empire’s colonial ministry.
With his interventionist remarks, Pompeo called on member states to isolate Venezuela, instructing the region to sever ties with the legitimate government of Nicolás Maduro, just as it had done with Cuba in the early 1960s. He also demanded “democratic reforms” be implemented in Nicaragua, blaming the government of Daniel Ortega for those killed in acts of violence orchestrated by opposition groups.
Regarding Cuba, Pompeo said that: “As democratic societies, we must support young people in Cuba and elsewhere in the hemisphere in their hopes for democratic change.”
But Cuba, which stood up against the OAS and with her all the peoples of America, led by its youth, responded just as Martí did in 1889: “Why should we young nations of Latin America join the battle the United States is preparing to wage with the rest of the world?”
U.S. rhetoric on independence, sovereignty, the rights of the individual and the peoples – even supporting non-intervention in the internal affairs of other states – is dead letter in the face of its extensive and violent record.
The United States needs the OAS to influence and divide the region and to prevent the fulfillment of its only, inevitable, and true historic destiny: the integration of the peoples as Martí and Bolivar dreamed.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE OAS IN THE AMERICAS
- In 1954 Guatemala was invaded by mercenaries trained and organized by the CIA, overthrowing the government of Jacobo Arbenz. Before the coup, the OAS had approved a resolution authorizing “collective regional intervention,” in blatant violation of its own Charter and that of the United Nations.
- The OAS was silent following the1961 mercenary invasion of Cuba at Playa Girón.
- April 1965: U.S. marines landed in Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic, to stop the popular uprising from claiming victory over the country’s military. This was the first collective intervention in a country of the region orchestrated by the OAS.
- The OAS remained silent following the death of Salvador Allende, and murder and disappearance of hundreds of thousands of South Americans during Plan Condor.
- It did nothing to combat violence in Central America during the 1980s, which cost the lives of 100,000 people.
- The organization did nothing to support investigations into the death of General Torrijos in Panama.
- March 1982: British intervention leads to the Guerra de las Malvinas (Falklands War), the first armed conflict between an OAS member state (Argentina) and foreign power. Under the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (commonly known as the Rio Pact; another U.S. tool of control disguised as continental solidarity) nations of the region should have showed support and solidarity with the aggrieved nation. However, the United States provided military and political support to Britain and imposed economic sanction on Argentina.
- October 1983: Grenadian Prime Minister Maurice Bishop is assassinated and his government overthrown by a U.S-backed military coup, aided by 1,900 marines, once again violating the principle of non-intervention.
- The OAS didn’t even react to the invasion of Panama, in 1989.
- In 1992 the Inter-American Democratic Charter cemented U.S. domination over the OAS. The organization showed the same level of passivity and contempt as it had always done, following the military coup in Haiti, which overthrew President Jean Bertrand Arístides in February 2004.
- The OAS participated in the unsuccessful April 2002 coup against Comandante Hugo Chávez in Venezuela.
- The U.S. helps plan the coup against the government of Manuel Zelaya in Honduras, 2009.
- In 2010 the U.S. turned a blind eye to another coup attempt, this time against Rafael Correa in Ecuador.
- The OAS and its Secretary General Luis Almagro actively support and promote U.S. policies against Cuba and Venezuela.