In late spring of 2008, the prestigious Council on Foreign Relations published a report titled “US-Latin America Relations: A New Direction for a New Reality.” Timed to influence the foreign policy agenda of the next US administration, the report asserted: “the era of the US as the dominant influence in Latin America is over.” At the Summit of the Americas in April the following year, President Barack Obama appeared to be on the same page as the report’s authors, promising Latin American leaders a “new era” of “equal partnership” and “mutual respect.” Four years later, Obama’s second secretary of state, John Kerry, went a step further, solemnly declaring before his regional counterparts at the Organization of American States (OAS) that the “era of the Monroe Doctrine is over.”
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Amnesty International told me that it “does not take a position on the current application” of U.S. economic sanctions that Trump’s administration imposed on Venezuela in August “but rather emphasizes the urgent need to address the serious crisis of the right to health and food which Venezuela is facing. In terms of human rights, it is the Venezuelan state’s responsibility to resolve this.” Amnesty’s full reply to three questions I asked them by email can be read here.
Seventeen years after Hugo Chávez was elected Venezuela’s President for the first time, the supporters of his Bolivarian Revolution, now led by President Nicolás Maduro, suffered their first major defeat in a national election in the December 6 elections to the country’s parliament, the National Assembly.