U.S. imperialism turns foreign allies into enemies

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez stopped selling oil to Exxon. Last month Chavez warned his Latin American allies to withdraw their alliances with the U.S.

“We should start to bring our reserves here,” Chavez said during a Venezuelan gathering of world leaders. “Why does (our) money have to be in the North?”

Chavez said the declining economy and U.S. imperialism should motivate his allies to stop interacting with our country.

“U.S. imperialism is entering into a crisis that can affect all of us,” Chavez said.

When imperialism is mentioned in texts like The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, it’s usually in reference to domains such as the Ottoman Empire or the Russian Empire. But when referring to our country, imperialism describes a nation trying to forcefully extend its dominion by conquering subordinate nations.

In an attempt to shed some light on the situation, we must ask ourselves the right questions.

Is the United States an imperialist country? Has America ever attempted to seize another nation for its land and its goods?

The fact of the matter is that conveniently, imperialist military interventions in the U.S. have become matters of “national defense,” “national security” or “maintaining stability.”

Let’s look at imperialism for what it really is.

The U.S. is dubbed imperialist throughout the world. But for some reason we don’t see that on our turf. Americans who admit that we are an imperialist country may be criticized for speaking ideological babble.

Maybe that’s why many people don’t speak up about the case of Puerto Rico.

Michael Parenti’s book Against Empire shows that Puerto Rico has been fighting for its independence for about 100 years. During its war with Spain, America interfered and conquered the Spanish colonies in Puerto Rico.

While Puerto Rico is considered a “commonwealth,” it has been denied independence from the U.S. In order to become independent, Puerto Rico would need approval from the U.S. Congress.

While colonialism has brought major sufferance to the indigenous Puerto Rican people, the U.S. monopoly of corporations that control the economy of Puerto Rico have profited tremendously.

In Against Empire, Parenti establishes that the U.S. profit rates in the Third World are 50 percent greater than in developed countries. Citibank is one of the largest firms here in America, but it earns about 75 percent of its profit from overseas operations.

This is all because of the country’s low wages, low taxes, nonexistent work benefits, weak labor unions and a lack of occupational and environmental protection.

With Venezuela taking a stand against the U.S., other countries may follow suit.

Marjua Estevez is a sophomore magazine production student from Tampa. She can be reached at famuanopinions@hotmail.com.