Pentagon chief promotes anti-China agenda in Latin America
Bill Van Auken
18 August 2018
US Defense Secretary Gen. James Mattis wound up his first official visit to Latin America in Colombia and headed back to Washington on Friday, having used the four-nation tour to warn against growing Chinese influence in the region and press for closer ties between the US and Latin American military commands.
Three of nations chosen for the tour—Brazil, Argentina and Chile—have all seen changes of government that have brought in increasingly right-wing regimes more amendable to developing their collaboration with the Pentagon. All three were also ruled 40 years ago by fascist-military dictatorships backed by the Pentagon and the CIA that murdered, tortured and imprisoned hundreds of thousands of workers, students and others perceived as hostile to military rule.
The fourth and final stop on Mattis’ tour was Colombia, long Washington’s closest military ally in the region.
Mattis’ visit comes less than two months after a similar trip to Latin America by Vice President Mike Pence. Like Pence, the Pentagon chief made threatening noises about “restoring democracy” to Venezuela, while claiming that this was not a “military question” and would best be left under the leadership of Brazil. This, despite a recent report by the Associated Press establishing that President Donald Trump repeatedly pressed his aides over why Washington could not invade Venezuela, as it did Grenada in 1983.
The central focus of Mattis’ discussions—and of Washington’s overall geostrategic objectives in the lands south of its border—was China.
US imperialism, which long referred to the region contemptuously as its “own backyard,” has faced mounting challenges from Beijing to its historic…