December 3, 2023 will mark the 200th anniversary of the Monroe Doctrine. It will also mark its obsolescence in the face of popular resistance and the Pink Tide of progressive governments in Latin America that have been elected over the past two and a half decades. The prevailing ideology of these progressive movements and governments rejects the “Washington Consensus” and opts for a new consensus based on the decolonization of the political, economic, social, and cultural spheres. It is Washington’s failure to respect and adjust to this political and ideological process of transformation that precludes, at this time, a constructive and cooperative U.S. foreign policy towards the region. This conference seeks to analyze the present juncture in US-Latin America relations and suggests policy alternatives to the Monroe Doctrine that take into account the irreversible trend towards regional integration and post-neoliberal economic models in a multipolar world.
The Monroe Doctrine was first used by the US government to intervene in the political and economic futures of Latin America and the Caribbean under the pretense of protecting the region from European colonization. It became the ideological basis for justifying 200 years of US intervention in the region on behalf of corporate interests and in violation of the right of nations to self-determination. It is no coincidence that in 1823, the US Supreme Court also deployed the Doctrine of Discovery to legalize land theft, settler expansion, and the genocide of Indigenous peoples.
Over the past two decades, in response to the subservient role of the OAS to Washington, new associations have formed, such as CELAC, ALBA, UNASUR, and PetroCaribe, all inspired by the ideal of regional integration based on respect for sovereign equality among nations and guided by ecological, democratic, and plurinational principles.
This conference presents the demands that have emerged from movements for popular democracy in Latin America and the Caribbean to end US hegemony and build new forms of regional solidarity instead. The continued failure of US Congressional leaders, policymakers, and trade associations to recognize these demands sets back future generations in their efforts to contend with the existential threats of hunger, inequality, gross human rights violations, and climate change. Now, on this anniversary of the Monroe Doctrine, is the time for the US to change course and adopt a hemispheric policy that respects nations' sovereign equality, ends unilateral coercive measures and engages in complementary trade.
Juan González is an award-winning journalist and investigative reporter who spent 29 years as a columnist for the New York Daily News. He is a two-time winner of the George Polk Award and author of many books, including the classic “Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America,” which has just been reissued and published in Spanish. His other books include “News for All the People: The Epic Story of Race and the American Media.” González is also the founder and past president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. Before beginning his career in journalism, he spent several years as a Latino community and civil rights activist, helping to found and lead the Young Lords Party during the late 1960s and the National Congress for Puerto Rican Rights in the early 1980s. He has also been the co-host of Democracy Now! since it started in 1996.