On April 29th, 2023, members from sixty endorsing organizations, including community leaders, activists, and academics gathered at American University in Washington DC to critique the 200-year legacy of the Monroe Doctrine and to propose a new U.S. foreign policy in the hemisphere based on respect for the sovereign equality of nations.
Derived from a speech by President Monroe in 1823, the Doctrine declared the hemisphere off limits to European meddling by virtue of a sphere of US interests. Far from safeguarding the independence of its southern neighbors, the Monroe Doctrine evolved into a justification for economic, political and military intervention to exploit the labor and natural resources of the Americas. This intervention has been conducted in collaboration with local oligarchs who benefit by maintaining an oppressive, racialized, and gendered socio-economic order.
The Monroe Doctrine ought to be buried once and for all because it has been an instrument of U.S. hegemony in Latin America and the Caribbean despite the irreversible advance of regional independence and integration.
Opposition to the Monroe Doctrine in the Americas follows a legacy of popular resistance dating back to the fifteenth century. Over the past three decades, progressive governments backed by the organized expressions of popular power, have advanced their independence from foreign domination and are building a new consensus.
This new consensus calls into question the legitimacy of the OAS, which since its inception has been a tool of U.S. foreign policy, and promotes other more democratic regional associations, such as CELAC, UNASUR, ALBA and MERCOSUR. It seeks to advance the Bolivarian cause of regional integration and independence. And it poses alternative economic models in order to overcome the extreme inequality generated by neoliberal economics.
The Monroe Doctrine is obsolete in the de facto multipolar world. Despite this geopolitical reality, the U.S. and their junior NATO partners continue to seek world hegemony by means of a "rules-based order," which deploys permanent war, economic sanctions, and other coercive measures on non-compliant countries. This approach to foreign policy is morally untenable because it systematically violates humanitarian and other principles of international law and is a major driver of emigration from targeted countries.
In opposition to permanent war, CELAC has declared Latin America and the Caribbean a Zone of Peace; member states refuse to be drawn into the proxy war in the Ukraine and have become more vocal in their opposition to illegal unilateral coercive measures. Moreover, panelists presented empirical evidence that economic sanctions and military intervention have caused widespread hardship and death and arguably constitute crimes against humanity.
The US should address the root causes of forced migration by ending sanctions, stopping the flow of US guns, ending predatory extractivism of natural resources and respecting the intrinsic value of nature across the Americas.
Real human rights centered regional integration will only come from listening to the voices of those who are most impacted by violence, and historic inequalities and injustices.
- Oppose the Monroe Doctrine and support the Bolivarian cause of regional integration and independence;
- Oppose white supremacy both at home and abroad, and support the struggle of Original and Afro-descendant peoples to advance pluri-national democracy and the reproduction of human life in harmony with nature;
- Oppose the U.S. occupation of Haiti and support the Haitian anti-imperialist movement in their calls to end foreign intervention and build their own grassroots solution to the political and economic crisis;
- Oppose the illegal Dina Boluarte regime in Peru and call for the immediate release of Pedro Castillo, the democratically elected president;
- Oppose unilateral coercive measures and call for the immediate lifting of sanctions against Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela and all non-compliant nations;
- Oppose all violations of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961) and call for the immediate release of Venezuelan Special Envoy Alex Saab from illegal detention in the U.S.;
- Oppose the U.S. military presence in the Caribbean and U.S. military bases in Colombia, Honduras, Cuba, and other nations in the region, and support instead the reallocation of this military spending to meet human needs in healthcare, education, and housing;
- Oppose the state of exception in El Salvador and call for the immediate release of the six community leaders of Santa Marta who were arrested on January 1 and are being held without due process;
- Oppose the inhumane U.S. immigration policy which denies migrants the option to seek asylum in the United States, and confines thousands of asylum applicants in detention centers or refugee camps where they are subjected to violations of human rights;
- Oppose the use of the OAS as an arm of U.S. intervention in the region and support alternative associations that give each nation an equal voice in addressing regional opportunities and challenges.
The Americas Policy Forum will continue to develop the coalition that formed at the conference in Washington, DC in order to strengthen anti-imperialist networks and to engage in cross-border dialogue to promote peace and the fulfillment of the basic common needs of all people.