Kamala Harris Visits Latin America to Reassert US Imperialist Domination

Photo credit Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times

By Nélida Tello

Vice President Kamala Harris traveled to Mexico and Guatemala this week as part of the Biden Administration’s goal to stop the tide of immigration by reasserting the role of US imperialist domination over the region. She visited the Latin American countries under the guise of fighting poverty, violence, and corruption, however she revealed new funding and initiatives to further bolster the US’s economic and political domination of the countries she visited.

Harris met with Guatemalan president Alejandro Giammattei on Monday, and on the following day with social-democrat Mexican president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. At both meetings she discussed the US imperialist’s plan to stop the flow of migrants from Central America. The majority of migrants to the US currently come from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, driven by desperate conditions enforced by the US that keeps their economies underdeveloped and preserves leaders such as Giammattei and Lopez-Obrador who carry out the will of US imperialism.

At the meeting with President Giammattei, Harris stated, “I want to be clear to folks in this region who are thinking about making that dangerous trek to the United States-Mexico border: Do not come. Do not come. The United States will continue to enforce our laws and secure our border.”

The imperialist Biden administration, which has repeatedly condemned Trump for his anti-immigration policies, has submitted a request to increase the Department of Homeland Security budget to over $52 billion in 2022. Of that amount, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) would be allotted $7.9 billion, which represents an increase of $312.2 million over Trump’s average funding for ICE during his administration.

During Harris’s visit to Guatemala she stated that the US will fund a so-called anti-corruption task force which will train Guatemalan prosecutors, as well as deploy hundreds of Homeland Security officers to the country’s northern and southern border to train local officials, deepening US involvement in Guatemala’s state apparatus. She also announced a $4 billion financial package to ‘boost’ Guatemala’s economy as well as $310 million in ‘humanitarian aid,’ which ensures the Guatemalan ruling class’s further economic and political debt to its US masters.

Rather than being concerned with corruption or the Guatemalan people’s well-being, the US backs leaders who will serve its agenda, and then looks the other way as those leaders slavishly carry out imperialism’s dirty work. Guatemala’s own history includes their US-backed military’s genocide of over 200,000 people, most of whom were indigenous Mayans. Over decades in the 20th century, atrocities were committed by the Guatemalan military, with many officers trained in the US at the notorious “School for Americas”, since renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation.

A smaller financial package similar to Guatemala’s was proposed for Mexico during Harris’s meeting with Lopez Obrador. The meeting between the two politicians was meant to secure the US’s control over Mexico’s southern and northern border, to strengthen Mexico’s role as a guard dog to the US’s front doorstep.

Harris’s asserts that poverty, violence, and corruption are the motivations for immigration but obscures the pivotal role of US imperialism in creating those very conditions through its merciless exploitation of Latin America. Imperialism stunts the economic development of oppressed nations like Guatemala and Mexico, using its economic weight to dominate their markets and exporting finance capital to seize control over their factories, raw materials, and cheap labor.

Monopoly media outlet The New York Times reported that US aid to Latin American countries has not deterred immigration in the past. This failure is not due to the aid not going directly to poor peasants, as President Giammattei claimed during his meeting with Harris, but rather due to the unaltered domination of US imperialism in preserving the misery of the people who migrate to seek a basic existence for themselves and their families. The objective of US aid is to increase oppressed nations’ economic and political dependence on the US in order to ensure US hegemony in the region.

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