“We’ll work with legitimate (governments) to prevent protests from morphing into riots and violence that don’t reflect the democratic will of the people,” Pompeo told an audience at the University of Louisville, in Kentucky.
The Trump administration official went on to accuse Cuba and Venezuela of “hijacking those protests,” referring to the recent anti-neoliberal and anti-government political protests in Chile, Colombia, and Ecuador; as well as those in support of President Evo Morales in Bolivia.
Pompeo concluded by saying there remains an "awful lot of work to do" in the region, referring to Latin America as the U.S.'s "back yard." He also warned against “predatory Chinese activities” in the region, which he claimed can lead countries to make deals that "seem attractive" but are "bad" for citizens.
Contrary to Pompeo’s remarks, violence has been denounced as being primarily a tool used by such right-wing U.S.-backed governments. In Chile, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) along with numerous other rights groups condemned the constant violations of human rights by police and military against the population.
While in Colombia and Ecuador, the use of repression has resulted in the killings of young protesters. Bolivia’s de-facto government, which immediately aligned with the U.S., has perpetrated two major killing sprees and wounded hundreds of protesters, as well as issuing a decree granting impunity for police and military forces.
The unrest in the South-American countries is mainly sparked by neoliberal policies affecting social issues such as income inequality and swelling costs of living; as well as foreign intervention, state violence and dismantling of the welfare state.