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Cuban-American lawmakers defend Monroe Doctrine amid progressive push to end 200-year-old policy

House lawmakers of Cuban-American descent are pushing back against progressives’ efforts to eliminate the Monroe Doctrine, a 200-year-old U.S. policy that categorizes political intervention in the Western Hemisphere by countries outside of it as an act of hostility.

A group of leftists led by Rep. Nydia Velázquez, D-N.Y., introduced a new resolution this week calling for the Monroe Doctrine to be formally annulled. 

She called the policy “outdated and ineffective.”

“For more than 200 years, the United States has used the Monroe Doctrine to justify a paternalistic, damaging approach to relations with Latin America and the Caribbean,” Rep. Delia Ramirez, D-Ill., one of the bill’s sponsors, said in a press release. 

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“As a result, the legacy of our nation’s foreign policy in those regions is political instability, deep poverty, extreme migration and colonialism. It is well past time we change our approach.”

But Reps. Maria Elvira Salazar, R-Fla., and Carlos Gimenez, R-Fla., told Fox News Digital the centuries-old policy was critical to stability in the region.

“The Monroe Doctrine is one of the most important foreign policy strategies the United States has ever developed. Today, threats to our security and liberty no longer come from London, Paris or Madrid, but from Beijing, Moscow and Tehran,” Salazar told Fox News Digital.

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“Communist and authoritarian powers abroad are colluding with our enemies in the Americas by selling them weapons and propping them up economically.”

Rather than scuttling it, she called on the U.S. to “renew our commitment to the Monroe Doctrine and keep our hemisphere free of intervention from overseas.”

Earlier this month, Salazar led a bill aimed at affirming U.S. support for the Monroe Doctrine.

Gimenez, one of the bill’s co-sponsors, said he knew firsthand why U.S. dominance was needed across North, Central and South America.

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“I lost my native homeland of Cuba to a brutal communist dictatorship that continues to oppress the Cuban people and exports socialist terrorism across the region,” he said. 

“In my community, we understand firsthand that the Western Hemisphere is safer, more prosperous and freer when the United States takes a proactive role and actively engages with our regional partners.”

The Monroe Doctrine dictates that the U.S. government will oppose any military or political intervention in any country in the Western Hemisphere by a nation outside of it.

It’s taken on new significance in recent years. Although it was implemented as a blockade against European colonialism, it’s been referenced — particularly during the Trump administration — as China seeks to expand its influence in South America. 

But critics, primarily on the left, have said it perpetuates an imbalanced power dynamic between the U.S. and its neighbors.

 

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