The US is no stranger to propping up right-wing governments in Latin America, and historically that has meant violently suppressing pro-democracy protests. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo seems to be trying to offer a narrative where the US can have its cake and eat it too.
In comments Monday, Pompeo tried to position the US as in favor of democratic protests in the region, while accusing Cuba and Venezuela of trying to “hijack” them and turn them into violent uprisings.
To that end, Pompeo says the US needs to be prepared to support those countries in stopping the protests from turning into riots, and while he doesn’t say how, history suggests it would be by labeling the protesters Cuban communists and crushing them militarily.
And while that’s Pompeo attempting to come up with a new course of action in Latin America, it’s impossible not to notice that it’s functionally indistinguishable from the previous support for pro-US governments crushing dissent. The difference is purely in getting out in front with a narrative where the crackdowns to come are the fault of regional rivals.