The fact that this history is so little known and unreported makes one wonder if the US media is actually capable of critiquing its own government. The myth of the US as always good, always on the side of freedom and justice, lives on and continues to be propagated to new generations.
In reality, US foreign policy has been characterized by imperialistic ambition, cold-heartedness, mass-killing, starvation, torture, deception, and domination. Examining the specifics of coups and interventions gives us a better idea of what US influence has stood for in the rest of the world.
Here are just a few examples:
- Haiti 2004
- A US-supported coup overthrows president Jean Bertrand-Aristide. After years of subverting the Haitian economy and providing aid and training to right wing opposition and paramilitary groups, democratically elected president Aristide is escorted on a US-charted jet to the Central African Republic. The details of this event are disputed. 6
- Venezuela 2002
- There are numerous alleged coup attempts and subterfuges likely initiated by the US and CIA. Current President, Hugo Chavez, has massive popular support and makes many nationalist, progressive reforms. In 2002, Chavez is overthrown in a military coup reminiscent of previous CIA-coups. The US welcomes the coup and congratulates the military, while denying involvement.The coup collapses after two days, however, and Chavez returns to power. 7
- Chile 1973
- CIA covert policies (at an expense of $8 million from 1970-73) lead to a coup d’etat in which democratically elected, socialist, populist Allende is killed and dictator Augusto Pinochet brought to power. 4
- Vietnam 1954-1975
- US intervention results in 3-5 million Vietnamese deaths and 58,000 American casualties. This, all in the name of stopping communism. 8
- Guatemala 1954
- President Jacobo Arbenz (1951-1954), permits free expression, legalizes unions, allows diverse political parties, and initiates basic socioeconomic reforms. The United Fruit Company (UFCO), exerts significant influence within the country. Arbenz is overthrown in a CIA instigated coup. The CIA director at this time, Allen Dulles, was formerly the president of the United Fruit Company (UFCO) and the previous CIA director and under-secretary of state, General Walter Bedell Smith, is on the company’s board of directors. Smith will become UFCO’s president following the overthrow. 5
- Iran 1953
- A CIA coup overthows the reformist Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq and installs the Shah, who rules with an iron hand for 26 years in close cooperation with the United States. 8