“First of all, the one thing the President does have power over is the military as Commander in Chief,” Gloria LaRiva said. “I would call for the withdrawal of all troops abroad- bring all troops home from the over 800 bases, and the secret ones as well.”
LaRiva is the Party for Socialism and Liberation’s presidential candidate for president for the 2016 election.
I spoke with LaRiva on Wednesday, May 24, about her campaign and her positions on domestic policy, foreign policy, and the first 100 days of a hypothetical LaRiva administration.
gloria-la-riva-1400x910The US has destroyed secularism in the Middle East,” LaRiva told me during a discussion on the US role in Syria, Libya, and the MENA (Middle East- North Africa) region.
We were talking about the possibility for an accelerated war coming out of Syria that could embroil the entire region and, eventually, the world. Syria has been destroyed by the sectarian civil war that has continued for the past five years, and shows no sign of stopping. LaRiva puts the blame squarely on the US’s shoulders.
“We are vehemently opposed to the US arming anyone in Syria,” LaRiva said. “We defend Syria from the US trying to destroy it. We don’t think there is anything progressive about the US role abroad.”
LaRiva said the US is supporting rebel groups who have more in common with ISIS than they do any secularized mythology of their actual motivations.
“They’re killing people for being the wrong religion, for being women,” LaRiva said. “They are terrorists. And this is who the US is supporting.”
The Syrian government, LaRiva said, is under attack by the US and its proxies in the region and the West because of its resistance to the US hegemonic order.
“We believe they have a right to their sovereignty,”she continued. “The problem for the US and why Syria is under attack is that it was one of the few places in the Middle East that was not bowing to the dictates of US imperialism.”
That’s the same reason that Libya was targeted for upheaval in 2011.
“The so-called Arab Spring gave the US the opportunity to destroy Libya,” LaRiva explained, “And created the brutality, chaos, and havoc that still exists there. But you don’t hear about it.”
The consequences for resisting US power, then, are dire.
“Look at Syria now,” LaRiva said sadly, “It looks like the moon.”
Of course, it’s not only the Middle East that feels the effects of the US’s foreign policy. Any country determined to be within the US sphere of influence must behave according to the wishes of the empire or face the consequences.
In Latin America, where the US has long had a deep and manipulative involvement, resisting the empire is still treated harshly. However, many countries in the region resist anyway, most notably Cuba and Venezuela.
“The US was going to try to overthrow Cuba in 1990 before Iraq invaded Kuwait and offered an opportunity there,” LaRiva said. “I worry very much it could happen in Venezuela because the opposition in that country has asked the US to intervene” in the country’s economic and political crisis. LaRiva fears this might be the opening for the US or its proxy Colombia to become militarily involved in Venezuela.
“The US wants to overthrow the whole progressive movement” in Latin America, LaRiva explained. “What happened in Brazil and Argentina was not a mistake. These are not particularly left leaning countries. But even they are not acceptable.”
LaRiva was referring to, respectively, the recent impeachment and deposition of democratically elected Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff in April of 2016 and the repeated attempts to demonize and delegitimatize democratically elected Argentine president Cristina Kirchner over the course of her presidency (2007- 2015).
For LaRiva and the PSL, this election is likely going to put in place another member of the ruling class who will continue the US imperial project. Neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton show any signs of taking a radically different approach to the world and American power.
This changing of the face of the country while continuing the actual policies of the US regime is what LaRiva calls “a strategy of imperialism.”
“Trump and Clinton will be simply representatives” of the empire, LaRiva said. “And nothing will change until the people make it change.”