Look Who’s Talking About Peaceful Transfer of Power and Respecting Elections
October 27, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
From a reader
Donald Trump says he will recognize the results of the election if he wins. He is throwing up for grabs one of the basic tenets of U.S. capitalist democracy, in service of a fascist agenda. In response, Hillary Clinton and many voices in the mass media insist that the peaceful transfer of power, based on respecting the results of an election, is one of those things that supposedly make America great.
Reality check! The United States has “respected the results of elections” around the world with invasions, coups, assassination, brutal death squad regimes, and mass murder whenever the results of an election don’t match their interests.
What Happens When An Election Doesn’t Go America’s Way…
In Iran, in 1953, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) along with British intelligence launched a military coup overthrowing Iran’s elected prime minister, Mohammad Mossadegh, after he nationalized Britain’s Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. They put the Shah in power and he ruled as an iron-fisted U.S. puppet for 25 years. When millions rose against the Shah in 1978-79, he shot down thousands with U.S. backing before being ousted. The 1953 coup and what followed ended up helping pave the way for a new Iranian nightmare: the 1979 founding of the Islamic Republic of Iran. (See “Case #98: 1953 CIA Coup in Iran: Torture and Repression—Made in the U.S.A.“ in the American Crime series at revcom.us).
In Indonesia, in 1965, the CIA organized and coordinated the mass murder of up to a million communists and others by Indonesian fascists. Bloated corpses clogged and choked the rivers of Indonesia. The objective was to remove the elected government of President Sukarno, who the U.S. saw as too closely associated with the wave of revolutionary nationalist and communist revolution in Asia in the 1960s. The rivers were choked with bodies, and the reign of terror inflicted on the hundreds of millions of people in that country still defines life there today. (See “Case #100: 1965 Massacre in Indonesia“ in the American Crime series at revcom.us).
In Chile, in 1973, the U.S. government orchestrated a coup d’etat that overthrew the elected government of Salvador Allende and installed the fascist regime of General Augusto Pinochet. At the time, Chilean revolutionaries spoke of tens of thousands of victims. Today’s Chilean government says 3,000. Some estimates say that 400,000 people were tortured. A whole generation of intellectuals and others who could escape was driven into exile. Many of those murdered during Pinochet’s years in power were “disappeared,” kidnapped by the U.S.-installed regime and never seen again.
And with Hillary Clinton serving as U.S. Secretary of State, the U.S. backed a coup in 2009 in Honduras, where the military deposed elected president Manuel Zelaya, a liberal-leaning populist, and installed a more openly fascistic and pro-U.S. regime. That plunged the Honduran people even more deeply into the hell of U.S. domination, state-sponsored political assassinations, and terrorism, and intensified violence, poverty, and oppression. These horrors remain in effect to this day, with U.S. backing. (See “Case #75: Obama, Clinton and the 2009 Military Coup in Honduras“ in the American Crime series.)
Installing and Backing Fascist Regimes Across Asia, Africa, and Latin America
Those four examples just scratch the surface of the history and present-day reality behind declarations of “respect for democratic elections.” That’s a metaphor, but it’s not an exaggeration.
- In the 1950s, Britain’s South American colony, British Guiana, was wracked with anti-colonial protest. In response, and in reaction to the election of a president Britain viewed with suspicion, Winston Churchill called for “American support in doing all that we can to break the communist teeth.” In 1953, with U.S. backing, the British suspended British Guiana’s constitution, fired its legislators, and arrested the elected president, Cheddi Jagan.
- In Guatemala, in 1954, the U.S. engineered a coup that overthrew elected president Jacobo Árbenz after his government nationalized unused land held by United Fruit, a U.S. corporation, to distribute to peasants. Decades of intensified death squad terror and genocide followed.
- In 1960, the CIA orchestrated the assassination of Patrice Lumumba, a popular nationalist leader and opponent of colonialism in the Congo. After Lumumba became the Congo’s first prime minister, CIA Director Allen Dulles ordered that his “removal must be an urgent and prime objective.” After Lumumba’s assassination, the U.S. installed Joseph Mobutu who ruled as a brutal and corrupt enforcer for imperialist interests.
- In 1962, the U.S. ruling class was worried that the elected government of Souvanna Phouma in Laos was “neutralist and a compromiser with the Reds.” (Time magazine, 6/8/1962). The U.S. forced the downfall of that government and its replacement by a right wing, pro-U.S. general, including by shutting off U.S. economic aid.
- In March 1970, the constitutional monarchy of Norodom Sihanouk in Cambodia was overthrown in a coup and replaced by a regime headed by U.S. puppet Lon Nol. There is conflicting evidence as to whether the U.S. orchestrated the coup—by hard-core pro-U.S. military officials—but it was quick to rush to support it.
What the U.S. REALLY Brings to the World
And look up these U.S. directed or backed coups that overthrew popular or elected governments: Ecuador, 1960-63; Brazil, 1964; Dominican Republic, 1963; Cuba (repeated attempts to invade, assassinate, and orchestrate “regime change”); Bolivia, 1964; Ghana, 1966; Greece, 1967; Bolivia, 1971; Jamaica, 1976; Chad, 1981; Grenada (by invasion), 1983; Nicaragua, 1981-90 (destabilized an elected government by sponsoring a massive campaign of terrorist attacks); Haiti, 2004.
How does this all square with the claim by the rulers of the U.S. that they are the global champions of democracy? The reality is what Bob Avakian says:
The essence of what exists in the U.S. is not democracy but capitalism-imperialism and political structures to enforce that capitalism-imperialism. What the U.S. spreads around the world is not democracy, but imperialism and political structures to enforce that imperialism.
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