More voices raised against US sanctions and coup backing in Latin America


“It is vital that our movement continue to amplify the voices from both the international solidarity movement as well as those on the frontline of the struggle for social progress and self-determination across Latin America.”

By Logan Williams

In recent months we have begun to see the progressive wing of the Democratic Party in the US make a progressive step in its activism around Latin America. These changes can best be seen by Democratic members of the US House of Representatives seek to apply pressure on President Biden to urgently re-examine US Foreign Policy towards both the people and progressive movements in Latin America.

One of these key steps can be found in a group of twenty Democratic Party members of congress co-signing a letter urging President Biden to halt significant amounts of financial aid which has been targeted towards the Peruvian government under coup=President Boluarte. The group of signatories included key members of “the squad” such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and, Cori Bush alongside fellow Democratic representatives. The signatories of the letter highlighted that “rather than working to deescalate tensions, the Boluarte government has substantially increased tensions” through actions such as classifying protestors as terrorists and enforcing strict curfews and travel bans to limit citizens’ rights of movement. Their letter went on to condemn Peruvian state security forces which they argue “have indiscriminately responded with almost no regard for protestors’ human rights” especially in relation to the recent police raid on student accommodation at San Marcos University in Lima.

These progressive Representatives carried on by arguing that the United States’ government is sending out an “ambiguous message” through its call for impartial investigations into abuses committed by the Peruvian government whilst it publicises its support for Boluarte and her government’s “efforts to seek a political solution”. In addition to condemning the ambiguous tone of the United States’ governments briefings towards Peru, the letter highlights the actions undertaken by the US Ambassador to Peru, Lisa Kenna who met with key individuals in the Boluarte government prior to it taking power.

The attempt by these Representatives to assert pressure onto the Biden administration to overturn elements of US foreign policy that have remained the cornerstone of previous administrations’ policies towards the people of Latin America has recently been supported by the efforts of Congresswoman Veronica Escobar and Representative Raul Grijalva. Both of whom have co-lead the construction of a letter which seeks to highlight the plight of migrants from Venezuela and Cuba who due to the devasting impact of US led sanctions are choosing to leave “behind friends, families, and homes; traversing deserts, jungles, and treacherous regions like the Darién Gap; risking life and limb only to be met, in some cases, with closed doors and even violence upon arriving at the border”.

The Representatives went on to argue that the “broad-based U.S. sanctions — expanded to an unprecedented level by former President Donald Trump — are a critical contributing factor in the current increase in migration” from Latin American nations. They continued by calling upon Biden to urgently “lift the failed and indiscriminate economic sanctions that were imposed by the prior administration and engage in a broader review of pre-existing sanctions policies that your administration inherited, which exacerbate hardship for innocent civilians”. The lawmakers concluded by stating “you have a historic opportunity to reorientate U.S. policy in the hemisphere towards a more holistic approach that eschews destructive sanctions policies to focus on peace, stability, and prosperity for all inhabitants of the Americas. We hope you will continue down this path”.

It is vital that our movement continue to amplify the voices from both the international solidarity movement as well as those on the frontline of the struggle for social progress and self-determination across Latin America. And with the UK often following the US’ lead when it comes to foreign policy in Latin America, building links with critical voices there can be of particular significance for building solidarity here.

Protests for democracy held in Peru after the coup against President Castillo.

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