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By Any Means Necessary

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Monroe Doctrine and 21st Century Anti-Colonialism Akinyele Umoja

“The only way we’ll get freedom for ourselves is to identify ourselves with every oppressed people in the world. We are blood brothers to the people of Brazil, Venezuela, Haiti, Cuba -- yes Cuba too.” Malcolm X United States (U.S.) President James Monroe, a Virginia slaveholder, ordered a policy known as the Monroe Doctrine in 1823. In this doctrine, Monroe stated that the western hemisphere was under the “sphere of influence” of the U.S. Empire. The U.S. imperialist state asserted its aspiration to dominate the Americas (the Caribbean, North, South, Central) just as the white settler colonial-capitalists asserted its dominance over the lands of the indigenous nations of North America westward in its policy of “Manifest Destiny.” While ostensibly created to counter the influence of European colonial powers in the western hemisphere, the spirit of Monroe Doctrine has been utilized as a vehicle to assert U.S. dominion over the Caribbean and Latin America. Nearly two centuries later the U.S. maintains the imperialist policy in regards to the countries and peoples south of its borders. The U.S. Empire is currently engaged in a campaign of regime change in Venezuela and Nicaragua and destabilization of Cuba. U.S. imperialism wants to implement its neoliberal agenda to privatize the public resources of countries in the hemisphere to further exploit the peoples of the Americas and continue to be the major beneficiary of the labor and natural resources internationally. The continuation of the Monroe Doctrine to maintain U.S. imperialism in the Americas in the 20th century is well-documented. The U.S. Empire’s invasion and occupation of Haiti in 1915, role in the coups of democratically-elected governments in Guatemala (1953), Chile (1973), Haiti (1991), support of counter-revolutionary paramilitary forces in Cuba (since the 1959) and Nicaragua. The U.S. imperialist state has historically supported the dictatorships in the Caribbean and Latin America and also bolstered regimes engaged in the genocide of indigenous and African descendants, and the violations of human rights of its citizens. Thrust for Radical democracy in the 21st century in the Americas The twenty-first century began with the election of socialist, social democratic, and progressive nationalist governments that challenged the neoliberal policies of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Working and poor people began to vote their interests by supporting grassroots agendas and opposing neoliberal agendas in response to the historic exploitation of their labor and natural resources and recent increases in the prices of basic commodities such as oil and food. In this regard, Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution achieved victory with radical anti-imperialist Hugo Chavez being elected head of state in Venezuela in 1999. Chavez led the re-writing of the country’s constitution to guarantee free health care, broader educational access, recognition of indigenous peoples, and human rights. The Bolivarian Revolution also redirected revenues from Venezuela’s vast oil industry to benefit services like housing and medical care to working and poor people in urban areas and campesinos (peasant farmers). The liberation theologian Jean Bertrand Aristide and the political party Fanmi Lavalas assuming power in Haiti is another example of the motion towards radical democracy. Aristide established his reputation as a Catholic priest opposed to the U.S. backed Duvalier dictatorship in Haiti. Aristide regained the presidency after being deposed from a military 1991 coup, returning in 1994 to serve the last 13 months of his term. He received 92% of the electorate with what CNN estimated to be a 60% voter turnout in the 2000 presidential election. Aristide and Lavalas demonstrated his commitment to empower and serve the Haitian grassroots by building

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By Any Means Necessary, Volume 1, Issue 3  

Black August Edition

By Any Means Necessary, Volume 1, Issue 3  

Black August Edition

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