Ask most Latin American’s what they American Policy is towards their country, and they will most likely say neglect. The United States has done just this since the Monroe Doctrine. It has in effect left South America to rot, thinking that the continent, while a mess, would always lead to support the United States with Oil, Minerals and the like.
However, with the current emergence of populism on the continent, the people of South America are in effect taking a stand against their northern Yankee neighbor, that will in all likelihood come to bite it in the ass.
Take Venezuela’s Chavez, his Boliviarian approach to South America, dictatorial rule, weapons purchasing, and squandering of public funds, along with absurd megalomania are nothing short of crazy, however he has support, and his ideas are spreading. What ideas? Ones about bringing power to the people, American style capitalism in the area has led to divisions between the region’s elite, and the rest of the populace. The same populace that sees nothing in return from this American style capitalism, or at least what it feels to be American style capitalism. Therefore, it is no surprise that elections in Bolivia, and Peru swung towards the Populist Left.
However, the problem here is not with the nations and the people that voted to the Populist Left, to them it’s a change from the historical, and they see it as finally having a voice in the government, a government that actually wants to work for the people instead of itself. Can you blame them?
No. The problem here lies with the United States and it’s policy of general indifference towards Latin America. If historically the US would have paid attention to, made sure to look after honest free markets, criticize those that would exploit the people, the land, and truly try to steer the nations of Latin America towards prosperity, democracy and free market capitalism we would not see the issues we are seeing now. The question is, is it too late? Is the damage we have done irreversible? Or can we woo South America towards us again?
These among others are questions that need answering. But I know that the U.S. needs to turn towards South America, it needs to invest its interests there, and start paying attention to the continent. The worlds polarization is shifting again, and instead of looking at now, we all need to look to the future, and work to ensure a safe, prosperous and free one for all of us, but not by the overt iron hand approach that is currently coming out of Washington, but through mutual co-operation.