The OAS has been around for almost 70 years – and with an equally long and sordid history of intervention in the internal affairs of member-states whose governments won’t, don’t or refuse to toe the U.S. line politically.
A brief recall of its history is helpful:
1954: Guatemala was invaded by mercenaries organized by the CIA, who overthrew the government of Jacobo Arbenz. The intervention was preceded by an OAS resolution supporting collective regional intervention, in violation of both its own Charter and that of the United Nations (UN).
1961: OAS supported the invasion of Cuba at Playa Giron by mercenaries armed and supported by the United States.
1962: Cuba was expelled from the OAS at a meeting in Cartagena, Colombia.
1965: U.S. marines disembarked in the Dominican Republic to prevent the victory of the popular constitutionalist movement.
1973: The Nixon administration and the CIA arranged and supported a military coup against Chilean President Salvador Allende, who died during the coup.
1975 (and onwards): U.S.-backed military strongman Augusto Pinochet, who replaced Allende, coordinated the infamous ‘Operation Condor’ that saw the disappearance of tens of thousands of South Americans in one of the darkest periods of Latin American history.
1976: A similar CIA-backed destabilization campaign as carried out in Chile was implemented against the Jamaica administration led by Prime Minister Michael Manley.
1980 (and onwards): U.S.-backed military and right wing dictatorships waged a war against popular national liberation movements that claimed close to 100,000 lives.
1980s: Panamanian leader General Omar Torrijos dies a suspicious death, without an active investigation.
1982: The British intervention against Argentina started the Malvinas (Falklands) war, the first aggression of its kind against a country belonging to the OAS.
1983: The U.S. invaded Grenada on October 25, sending 1,900 troops to destroy what was left of the Grenada Revolution after Prime Minister Maurice Bishop was killed by members of his own People’s Revolutionary Army.
2002: A blatant right-wing coup was effected against elected Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
2008: An attempted coup was tried in Bolivia, when four state governors incited protests against President Evo Morales. President Morales’ official jet was also years later skyjacked -- with him aboard -- as the US sought the fleeing whistleblower, Edward Snowden.
2009: A constitutional coup was effected against elected Honduran President Manuel Zelaya.
2010: Police and army personnel illegally attacked Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa.
2012: A parliamentary coup was effected by the congress in Paraguay against President Fernando Lugo.
2016: A Brazilian constitutional coup was effected against elected President Dilma Roussef.
2017: Successive externally-backed violent opposition street protests were held in Venezuela aimed at forcing elected President Nicolas Maduro out of office before completing his constitutional term of office in 2018.
All the above cases involved OAS member-states. But not once did the OAS condemn the unconstitutional measures against elected governments, military actions aimed at removing constitutionally elected governments or externally-backed interventionist actions aimed at undermining leaders and governments of member-states.
Today, however, OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro has found the voice to condemn the elected government of President Nicolas Maduro, while supporting a plan by the U.S., Canada and a minority of South American and Caribbean governments to oust the constitutionally elected government in Caracas.
Unashamed and unrepentant in his quest to help the anti-Venezuela plotters to cloak their intervention plans in a fig leaf of OAS majority support, Almagro has done what no other predecessor has done in recent memory: openly support and side with the violent opposition and their external backers to enforce regime change in a member-state -- and repeatedly publicly attack the elected president of a founding member-state, Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro.
Against this historical background, Almagro and his imperial handlers are heading to Cancun, Mexico, to add yet another to the long list of OAS member-states and elected leaders who have become victims of U.S. ‘gunboat diplomacy’ in Latin America and the Caribbean, which Washington has never stopped regarding as ‘America’s backyard’.
But as they have done before, the majority of OAS member-states can once again stand up and be counted among those nations of the world that refuse to be subjected to imperial diktat by din of force and threats.
After Washington on May 31, when the majority stood against, and thwarted the plans of a minority bent on imposing its will on the unwilling, Cancun can later this month be the next time and place where the majority of peace-loving and non-interventionist member-states of the OAS let the United States and Canada – and their regional acolyte regimes – know that when it comes to defending and protecting the independence and sovereignty of nation states, once is never enough!
Earl Bousquet is a veteran Saint Lucia-born Caribbean journalist and author of a regional column entitled Chronicles of a Chronic Caribbean Chronicler.