Another U.S. Regime Change Operation Is Taking Shape In Mexico by Rainer Shea

State of the Union

Image by Josh Bartok via Flickr

by Rainer Shea
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Rainer Shea: Anti-Imperialist Journalist, Dec. 3, 2019
December 5, 2019

When it comes to Mexico, one can at this point easily spot the signs of a brewing U.S. regime change operation. Since Mexico’s president Andrés Manuel López Obrador was elected last year, he’s been thoroughly vilified by the U.S. media. After Brazil’s fascist president Jair Bolsonaro was elected, the Financial Times’ John Paul Rathbone even argued that Obrador is a greater threat to liberal democracy than Bolsonaro. Such views of Obrador have come from claims that he’s an authoritarian, or “too strong” as the Washington Post recently put it.

From the perspective of the global capitalist class, Obrador is indeed a much bigger threat than Bolsonaro. Bolsonaro’s agenda of neoliberal hyper-capitalism made plutocrats around the world celebrate his election, while the presence of the anti-neoliberal Obrador has rattled markets. In March, Obrador declared that “The neoliberal model and its economic policy of pillage and handouts are abolished” in Mexico, starting on a 2019-through-2024 plan to undo the country’s privatization and redistribute wealth. Since Obrador has given Asylum to Evo Morales and said that Morales is the victim of a coup, the U.S. has gained further interest in advancing regime change in Mexico.

As the international implications of the Bolivia coup have developed, it’s become more clear how the U.S. aims to destabilize and take over Mexico. Last week, Trump declared that he’s going to classify Mexico’s cartels as terrorist groups, opening the possibility for military intervention in Mexico. This has gone along with the Mexican right’s recent efforts to attack Obrador for a recent botched raid on the Sinaloa Cartel, a cry of outrage which the U.S. media has amplified through headlines like “Mexico loses its sovereignty to cartels.” The fact that the right-wing President Felipe Calderón was the one who helped create the rise of the Sinaloa Cartel has been omitted from the prevailing narrative about this incident.

Washington seeks to revamp Mexico’s destructive war on drugs so that it can exploit these ruptures in Obrador’s control over the country. Trump and some Democrats are willing to send in troops to make this happen, raising the possibility of yet another U.S. war against Mexico.

If Washington gets its way, Obrador will be replaced with a U.S.-backed neoliberal president as soon as possible, perhaps through a military coup. The victory of Washington’s plans for Mexico depend on the popular acceptance of the narrative that Obrador is an aspiring dictator who must be removed; to advance this narrative, the U.S. media has compared Obrador to Turkey’s genocidal far-right president Recep Erdogan, creating the perception that Obrador is part of the worldwide trend of anti-democratic populist leaders.

But Obrador’s populism isn’t reactionary or authoritarian like the phony right-wing “populism” of Trump, Erdogan, and Bolsonaro. He’s won his great support by delivering upon his promises for lifting people out of poverty, and by helping advance the gains of Mexico’s indigenous communities. Far from being the strongman that the U.S. media makes him out to be, he’s much more pro-democracy than his reactionary predecessors, and within mainstream Mexican politics he’s uniquely in favor of the rights of poor and working people.

Obrador isn’t a communist like I would prefer for him to be. He only seeks to reform capitalism, and he’s increased migrant deportations and carried out self-described “austerity budgets.” But in terms of the issue of imperialism-which is the issue that American socialists should prioritize the most when they’re deciding whether or not to support foreign leaders-Obrador is not on the side of the U.S. empire. He therefore deserves to be supported, and to be defended when necessary.

This is the gist of how anti-imperialists should view Mexico right now; it’s a predictable situation of the U.S. characterizing a disfavored leader as a tyrant so that it can get them out of power. What’s unusual about this regime change project is the global geopolitical dynamic that surrounds it. The U.S. is rapidly losing its global influence, an imperial decline that correlates with the slow-motion collapse of neoliberal capitalism and the intensification of class conflict worldwide. The American bourgeoisie is in danger of losing their power and resources, so they’re in the process of clamping down on the assets they can more solidly control.

This U.S. imperial clampdown is taking place primarily throughout the Pan-American hemisphere. Washington is consolidating and attempting to expand its hold over Latin America. This has become apparent as the U.S. has meddled in Brazil’s election last year in order to get Bolsonaro elected; as the U.S. has escalated its efforts to overthrow Venezuela’s Chavista government, as well as the Sandinista government in Nicaragua; as the U.S. has overthrown Bolivia’s government; as Washington has begun to try to suppress the protests against U.S.-backed neoliberal regimes throughout Latin America; and of course as the campaign against Obrador has intensified.

We’re seeing a repeat of Operation Condor, the Cold War campaign from the U.S. to carry out violence throughout Latin America and redraw the region’s political map. Trump’s decline to rule out drone strikes in Mexico in response to the “terrorist” cartels shows how much this new effort may escalate in the coming years.

Washington’s ultimate goal is to establish fascism throughout the entire Pan-American Hemisphere. If the imperialists won’t be able to regain domination over the globe, they’ll try to suppress the re-emergence of socialist and anti-colonial movements in both Americas through brute force. We must make them fail.


Rainer uses the written word to deconstruct establishment propaganda and to promote meaningful political action. His articles can also be found at Revolution Dispatch.

If you appreciate my work, I hope you become a one-time or regular donor to my Patreon account. Like most of us, I’m feeling the economic pinch during late-stage capitalism, and I need money to keep fighting for a new system that works for all of us. Go to my Patreon here.

Note: Rainer has a new profile on Facebook, also please follow him on Twitter and Youtube.

From the archives:

The Age of Constitutional Coups by Paul Street

Powerful Forces Cause Fires in Brazil, Beyond the Amazon + Militarism and Climate Change + Warming Oceans Are Rising at Alarming Rate

Chris Hedges: The Destruction of the Amazon Rainforest

The Fight Against Climate Change Is An Anti-Colonialist Struggle by Rainer Shea + The Amazon is Burning at a Record Rate

13 thoughts on “Another U.S. Regime Change Operation Is Taking Shape In Mexico by Rainer Shea

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  8. I hope President Lopez Obrador is taking a close look at the officers in the military and police forces who have been trained by or graduated from SOA/WHINSEC and other U.S. training schools. Every successful coup or regime change by the U.S. in Latin America (Bolivia as the latest example) has depended upon military and police officers who were on the U.S. payroll and/or were controlled by local oligarchs and big business. Unless the command structure of the military and police is in the hands of patriotic officers with no ties to foreign intelligence agencies, powerful business cabals or drug cartels, his government is vulnerable..
    President Evo Morales is in exile and Nicolas Maduro is still in power largely due to the integrity (or lack of it) of their governments’ military and security forces. Strong popular organizations and democratic institutions are very important, but without the backing of the military & security forces, even a popular elected leader can be ousted in a coup.

    • You raise an important issue, Michael, and one I believe is overlooked.
      The fact is that the US has a whole school for instilling imperialist values and strategies to control Latin American countries. A school of ignoble tradition that teaches war crimes and atrocities to the most brutal and dangerous applicants from south of the US border.
      It has been going on for decades. I wonder if there has ever been anything like this before in the history of imperialism.

  9. Imperialism is a terrible and dangerous disease on the planet. It must be ended sooner rather than later.

    It seems that when the empire fails at some regime change in the Middle East (Syria) it pivots its attention to its southern border where it has had its most success over the decades.

    But it never occurred to me that Mexico would be next. Obrador is not a fire breathing leftist/Commie like I would like to see, but he is the best Mexico has had in a very long time. He is bit like our FDR in that he has helped masses of people in his country.

    I think the Empire misjudges the strength and power of Mexico and it also misjudges the mood of the world now to US Imperialism.

    If the Empire does indeed target Mexico, it could be the deciding factor in its fall as well as the end of the despicable US American style capitalism.

    The empire is indeed failing but so is capitalism now in its end stage.

    The Giant may do great damage in its death throes. A frightening thing to consider, but the world will be better off in the long run.

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