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Is the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance really reciprocal?

30 September 2019

The Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance, better know in Latin American than the United States, where it is generally referred to by its Spanish initials (TIAR) is one of those post-World War II, Cold War relics the present U.S: administration would like to dust off in their on-going … and so far fruitless… attempt to force though a “regime change” in Venezuela… and possibly elsewhere.

Signed on September 2, 1947 when the threat of pro-Nazi regimes taking over various American states was was still fresh in the minds of the various American leaders, it was a perfect “Cold War” pact… a weapon to be wielded against any country that stood in the way of U.S: dominance in the region.  In addition, the TIAR served as a mechanism for training and propagandizing Latin American military personnel.  It was first used in 1961, to justify the invasion of Cuba.

The Bay of Pigs Invasion was a spectacular bust, but it was the rationale for an economic blockade that has lasted to this day.  TIAR was ignored when pro-US dictators, such as Augusto Pinochet in Chile and several others tortured and murdered civilians.  A similar agreement with the Caribbean nations was used in 1983 to justify the US invasion of tiny Grenada.

That the United States is now turing to TIAR to justify moves (so far limited to sanctions) against Venezuela, and making references to TIAR when it comes to other left-leaning government like that of Bolivia, as well as other Latin American nations that are looking to China, India, or Russia for markets and military/economic ties, shouldn’t be a surprise.  Growing economic instability in the United States has led to a belief that the country is facing more and more internal and external threats.

But how much bite does TIAR have?  Mexico never signed on to the Cuban sanctions (due to long-standing economic and cultural ties to the island country) and withdrew officially on 6 October 2002, ostensibly in protest of the United States’ refusal to block an execution of a Mexican citizen in Texas, but also because of U.S. and British pressure on Mexico’s United Nations delegation during Mexico’s tenure on the Security Council during the build up to the US-British-Spanish-“coalition of the willing” invasion and occupation of Iraq.  By 2012, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, and Cuba had also abrogated the agreement.

If you read the agreement, you will see that the signatory members are obliged to inform the UN Security Council about possible threats to the area. But as is well known, the United Nations, and two of the five permanent member states of the Security Council has not recognized Juan Guaidó as president of Venezuela… a country which abandoned the treaty years ago.

If there is a threat to the region, it is the arbitrary move by the Trump administration, and the Colombians, to encourage Colombian guerilla bands to break that country’s peace accords.  The United States, for its part, hoping to use TIAR as a rationale, hopes to provoke a war in Latin America without being accused of fomenting it.   In addition, the TIAR served as a mechanism, as training and training of US armies.

If the United States has not been able to dominate all of Latin America, perhaps we should not forget that this empire crashed against Vietnam and also with China in the Korean war, and could not avoid other wars in Asia and various parts of the World.

With the United States’ economic and political objectives so painfully obvious, Mexico is beginning to wake up to the danger it faces, with 80% of its exports depending on United States markets, and the US able to twist the arms of the Mexican administration to make decisions more favorable to US interest than to their own.

Although the present (evolving) Mexican immigration policy is widely and correctly seen as dictated from Washington, Foreign Minister Ebrard has been talking about the need for better relations with the rest of the world, and diversifying economic and political relations.  None too soon.

(Largely plagiarized from Antonio Gershenson, “El TIAR, hoy para Venezuela, como antes fue la OTAN para EU” Jornada, 29-Sept-2019)

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