Pete Riehm
A banana republic with plenty of nuts
By Pete Riehm
November 7, 2023

Dysfunctional countries in Central and South America have long been characterized as banana republics, but increasingly the past few years, more Americans are realizing the USA, too, is becoming a banana republic with plenty of nuts grinding our venerable institutions into unrecognizable dens of corruption and malfeasance. It’s ugly, unkind, and unsettling to accept our once great nation is being systematically crippled by crooks and political hacks, so too many Americans just look away hoping it’s just over exaggeration. But the failures are piling up.

Is the United States becoming a banana republic? defines a banana republic as “any exploitative government that functions poorly for its citizenry while disproportionately benefiting a corrupt elite group or individual.”

Well, that sounds all too familiar. Beyond hefty taxes, our government exploits the people with profligate deficit spending. They just print money for whatever nonsense and saddle the taxpayer with the interest on out-of-control debt. Too many to list, our government functions poorly in pretty much everything, and there’s little disagreement that our government disproportionately benefits our corrupt ruling elite. Look no further than the myriad blatant criminal activities of the Biden Crime family that just can’t hold the attention of our compromised and DOJ and FBI.

Beyond exploiting their citizens, banana republics oppress their people and persecute any opposition. Rife political corruption is a hallmark. The current poster child for banana republics is Venezuela. In the 1950s, Venezuela was the fourth wealthiest nation in the world and until Hugo Chavez imposed socialism in 1999, Venezuela was far and away the wealthiest nation in South America. In just two decades, the Venezuelan economy collapsed and now some 90% of its citizens live in poverty, but they have no recourse because Chavez and his successor, Nicolas Maduro, hold absolute power and simply won’t allow any opposition.

There is and has been political opposition in Venezuela with substantial popular support, but the totalitarian regime simply ignores them or outlaws them. Maduro’s government has declared all current opposition candidates disqualified from office because they opposed his policies and supported American sanctions of his usurpations. Undeterred, Maduro’s opposition has been holding robust primary elections to select a candidate to oppose him in next year’s election, but Venezuela’s High Court just suspended the opposition primary and its results declaring it probably illegal. And they ordered the opposition to turn in records to identify the millions of Venezuelans that had the temerity to vote against Maduro.

That sounds crazy! A democratic republic must have a loyal opposition, and any plurality of the people have the inherent right to choose their champion. The judiciary in a free republic should be nonpartisan and remain uninvolved in any political process. Furthermore, a free people should never fear government reprisals for opposing the ruling regime. Those are necessary and timeless democratic principles. Any deviation is a clear violation of the rights of free citizens and unthinkable in a free country.

Before anyone castigates Venezuela for abandoning liberty, Americans better take a hard look at what is happening right here. The Biden Administration and rogue Democrat prosecutors around the country are aggressively trying to preclude Donald Trump from running for president. Not unlike the Venezuelan High Court, Democrats in Colorado and Minnesota are trying to keep Trump off the ballot despite overwhelming Republican support. Republicans and grassroots conservatives by huge margins want Trump to be their nominee in 2024, but Democrats are determined to deprive Republicans of choosing their opposition candidate.

Self-serving New York Attorney General, Leticia James, has insanely brought incredibly frivolous charges against Trump to tie him up in litigation and smear his reputation. She has charged him with inflating real estate valuations more than a decade ago even though there are no injured parties and all loans have been repaid. She simply disagrees with his business.

Lunatic Fulton County Georgia District Attorney, Fani Willis, indicted Trump and dozens of supporters for simply questioning their marred 2020 election. Despite video of poll workers pulling out bags of ballots after hours and running them through voting machines multiple times, she claims it’s illegal to ask for an investigation of obviously suspect election procedures.

In clear election interference, various judges are issuing gag orders to silence Trump during a campaign. Contorting the law beyond recognition, these charlatans will go to any length to keep Trump from defending himself and campaigning. Obvious and unethical, it’s also patently unconstitutional.

Even worse and more despicable, the Biden White House colluded with the DOJ, FBI, and National archives to contrive charges of mishandling classified documents against Trump despite Biden and Hillary Clinton’s own gross mishandling of classified documents. Obama still has disputed classified documents, but the FBI made a ridiculous spectacle of publicly raiding Trump’s home simply to smear him. Again, like Venezuela, Biden abused his authority and weaponized the federal government to politically discredit his single political opponent.

Just like Maduro and Obama, for that matter, Biden seeks to eliminate Trump from ever meeting him at the polls again. The biggest lie repeated ad nauseum like the 1933 Reichstag fire (set by the NAZIs but blamed on the communists) is the silly notion that the January 6th protests were an insurrection. Hundreds of thousands of law-abiding Americans came to Washington to demand a fair accounting of the 2020 election, but cunning unscrupulous Democrats and federal officials flipped the script and erroneously alleged an insurrection that didn’t even compare to ANTFIA/BLM riots and attacks on federal property.

Democrats relentlessly cling to this whopper of lie because it precludes any inquiry of the highly suspect 2020 election, and it’s the sole basis for declaring Trump disqualified from the Oval Office. Pathetic political hacks like retired Federal Judge J. Michael Luttig disingenuously claim Trump his disqualified from the presidency by misusing the 14th Amendment which was intended to preclude former Confederate officials from holding office.

None of these sinister shenanigans are any different than Maduro’s malicious efforts to deny the people of Venezuela their rights to self-determination. Biden and Democrats are determined to deny the American people their rightful choice of a champion to oppose Biden. The USA is surpassing Venezuela has the premier banana republic.

“Those who plant injustice will harvest disaster, and their reign of terror will come to an end” (Proverbs 22:8).

Pete Riehm is a conservative activist and columnist in south Alabama. Email him at or read all his columns at

© Pete Riehm


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Pete Riehm

Born to German immigrants, Pete Riehm grew up in Texas as a first generation American. Working his way through college, he enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve. After graduating from the University of Houston, Pete was commissioned into the United States Navy through Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island. He also earned a Master's Degree in National Security from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas... (more)


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