Under the radar of most news sites, Vice President Mike Pence made his way down to Colombia to begin a week-long trip to Latin America that was later cut short.
The trip’s purpose was to coordinate regional diplomatic action to address the political crisis in Venezuela, but talks throughout the week were overwhelmingly dictated by President Donald Trump’s comments on how military action would be a possibility in regards to dealing with Venezuela’s dictator, Nicolás Maduro.
Throughout the week, the vice president had to deflect claims that the United States would take military action in Latin America — the Cold War left a sour taste of U.S.-sponsored military action for quite some time. Many leaders of Latin American countries do not want history to repeat itself, especially under a megalomaniac like Trump.
Chilean president Michelle Bachelet said she would not stand for a coup in Venezuela, but would support economic and political sanctions on the country. Chile had one of the worst coups in Latin American history, where the U.S. aided in putting a right-wing dictator, Augusto Pinochet, into power.
Argentinian president Mauricio Macri also said he did not see how the foreign military intervention would help in any way, probably remembering how the U.S. aided in removing Argentina’s President Juan Perón — who had some socialist domestic policies — for a right-wing military regime that terrorized Argentina for a little under a decade.
U.S. military intervention has never benefited Latin America; on the contrary, it stifled its political and economic growth to the point that the region can still feel the repercussions of militarized political views of the 70s in 2017.
Ironically, Trump’s ideas for military action have strengthen Maduro’s hold on Venezuelan government because they have created such opposition to foreign military action, which has further isolated Venezuelans and decreased the threat of a foreign-led coup. Every protest against the government is met with excessive force. The city of Caracas looks like a war zone: People cannot find basic foods or goods to consume and asking for basic human rights seems to be out of the question.
The opposition parties in Venezuela have been pressed up against a wall, condemning Trump’s talk of a military intervention because of the repercussions it might bring but also understanding that now Venezuela’s opposition and people are completely alone on the ground.