A Letter to Joe Biden
The Monroe Doctrine — asserting U.S. geopolitical control over the region — served as a pretext for over 100 years of military invasions, support for military dictatorships, the financing of security forces involved in mass human rights violations, economic blackmail, and support for coups against democratically elected governments, among other horrors that have caused many Latin Americans and Caribbeans to flee north in search of safety and opportunity.
We hope that your administration will adopt a New Good Neighbor Policy and commit to the following:
Ending broad economic sanctions
The embargo against Cuba has been a 60-year disaster that has caused countless deaths, cost the Cuban economy billions of dollars, shut U.S. businesses out of an important market, and contributed to deep antipathy towards the US throughout the region and much of the world. More recent sanctions regimes against Venezuela and Nicaragua are also causing widespread human suffering.
There is no justification for U.S. security programs in the region. No national security threat exists and a “war on drugs” is a counterproductive way to deal with a US public health issue that is best addressed through decriminalization and equitable legal regulation. It is time to scale down US “security assistance” and arms sales and remove US military and law enforcement personnel from the region.
Ending political interference
Time and time again, the US has sought to shape the outcome of elections to favor its perceived interests. Here at home, we rightly condemn any sort of foreign interference in our own country’s domestic politics and elections, so how can we continue to engage in gross interference in the politics of our neighbors? It is time for the US to respect the political sovereignty of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.
Supporting the human rights of all peoples
The US has an important role to play in advocating for human rights, a role that can only be strengthened by ensuring that the US government does not violate human rights in its own territory, on its borders or overseas. Special attention should be paid at home and abroad to the rights of historically excluded communities, including indigenous and Afro-descendant communities, LGBTQ+ individuals, women, and migrants and refugees.
The next administration must hear the demands for immigrant justice, and implement the following measures: enact a day-one moratorium on all deportations; end mass prosecutions of individuals who cross the border; re-establish asylum procedures at the border; provide an immediate path to citizenship for the Dreamers and for Temporary Protected Status holders; terminate the Muslim Ban; rescind funding for the border wall; rescind the myriad abusive Trump administration’s regulatory changes that have denied basic rights to immigrants; rescind the “zero-tolerance” (family separation) policy and other policies that prioritize migration-related prosecutions; reallocate resources away from immigration enforcement agencies and towards community-based alternatives to detention programs; and end private immigration detention.
To help the region develop, the US needs to allow countries to choose their own paths, instead of supporting external institutions that claim to support development while actually serving the interests of corporations and global finance.
The principles of non-intervention and non-interference, mutual respect, acceptance of our differences, and working together for the common good could form the foundation of a New Good Neighbor policy that would allow the U.S. to restore peace and make a positive contribution to the well-being of people throughout the hemisphere.