Summit of Americas: isn’t it a dud?
THE empire went to assert its position in the Latin America. But it has flopped. The CNN made the headline: ‘Snubs, from key leaders at Summit of the Americas reveal Biden’s struggle to assert US leadership in its neighborhood’. It is a setback for the empire.
Today, it is not an unimaginable development in the region.
The IX Summit of the Americas began in Los Angeles on June 6; and US president Jone Biden formally inaugurated the summit on June 9.
‘Yet’, CNN said, ‘the absences of the presidents of Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala are still notable since the United States has worked to cultivate those leaders as partners on immigration, an issue that looms as a political liability for Biden.’
The summit, since its planning, has been under the shadow of failure. The empire planned to organise the summit of what it calls the Americas. But, it began by excluding many, significant parts of the Americas. Who were excluded? The empire excluded its old foe — Cuba. And, new foes of the empire emerged in the continent: Venezuela and Nicaragua.
The empire did not imagine that there would be such a reaction to its exclusion plan. The theme of the summit is ‘Building a sustainable, resilient and equitable future.’
But, with the exclusion, with the imposition of self-formulated will on others, how far a sustainable, equitable and resilient future can be built? Anything sustainable requires participation of all concerned. Anything equitable requires space for participation of all related parties. Without sustainable and equitable approach nothing can be resilient.
How can a continent or two continents move with an equitable approach if countries are excluded and dictated? And, in Latin America, having such an approach without participation of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua is beyond imagination.
With dictation, with treating countries as subjects in Latin America, should one today imagine that an all inclusive sustainable path or model be accepted? Lackeys can accept it. But, today’s Latin America is different than half a century ago although many dream to have a Latin America cowed down. But, the reality today is not that.
The summit, so, had to brace its failure: Mexico’s president Andrés Manuel López Obrador denied to be lackey of the empire. He declined to join the summit. López Obrador said: ‘I am not going to the summit because not all the countries of America are invited and I believe in the need to change the policy that has been imposed for centuries, exclusion, wanting to dominate for no reason.’
What is López Obrador’s position? All countries must have opportunity to join the summit on an equal footing. Is it possible to consider the argument useless, irrational? The empire’s position turned out as irrational, baseless.
The Mexican president pointed out: ‘[T]here cannot be a Summit of the Americas if all the countries of the American continent do not participate.’
He said there can be a summit excluding many, but that would be ‘to continue with the old policy of interventionism, of lack of respect for nations and their peoples.’
The empire’s choice was the second one. Thus, it was none but the empire that has undercut the initiative. The summit plans to have an approach on health care. But, the document is full with neo-liberalism. Neo-liberalism does not serve people.
In the area of health care, Cuba is exemplary. Does it sound rational that someone plans to have an approach for people’s health, and peoples’ health across Latin America, but excludes Cuba?
Cuba’s public healthcare system stands as an example. It is far, far advanced, well-organised, well-managed and people oriented than many, many countries, many advanced, resourceful countries. Denying this fact today is nothing but making oneself fool.
The empire can compare the ways it, the empire, and Cuba handled the pandemic. If someone keeps in mind the resource gap between these two countries, Cuba and the empire, the failure of the empire and the success of Cuba will stand as an unbelievable fact.
If someone keeps in mind the fact that Cuba was obstructed to procure syringe and raw materials for Covid vaccines and Cuba has succeeded in facing the pandemic, then the Cuba fact may sound mythical. But the undeniable reality is: Fidel’s Cuba has done it.
Cuba’s president Miguel Diaz-Canal said: ‘[I]n no case will I attend. [F]rom the beginning, the United States government conceived that the Summit of the Americas will not be inclusive.’
Venezuela’s president Nicolas Maduro said: ‘[W]e have a clear path: unity, inclusion, diversity, democracy, and the right to build our own destiny. We reject the claims of excluding and discriminating against peoples at the Summit of the Americas.’
Daniel Ortega, president of Nicaragua, said: ‘We are not interested in being at that summit.’
Luis Arce, ‘resident of Bolivia, said: ‘[A] Summit of the Americas that excludes American countries will not be a full Summit of the Americas.’ He reaffirmed: ‘[I]f the exclusion of sister nations persists, I will not participate in it.’
Xiomara Castro, president of Honduras, said: ‘I will attend the Summit only if all the countries of the Americas are invited without exception.’
The ruptured effort also faced opposition from the Caribbean Community (Caricom), the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of our America-Peoples Trade Treaty (ALBA-TCP), the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac).
The summit is, thus, standing as a sign of the empire’s ruptured leadership in the region. It shows that those days are gone, when the Empire was the sole authority. Now, questions are being raised, defiance is being voiced. Countries, not only a single country, Cuba, in Latin America now dare to distance them from the Empire. It is a challenge to the empire.
It is not utterances by a number of statespersons. It is a different dynamics that has grown in the region. Years of peoples’ political struggles in countries in the region are a basic factor behind this dynamics; and peoples in countries have learned from their experiences: exploitation by the empire, brutality, assassinations and mass murders, backing rightist groups and coup masters, interventions, imposition of undemocratic/authoritarian regimes. These experiences were long and for many decades. Eduardo Galeano’s The Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent is enough to narrate the empire’s story in Latin America. The rupture thus went on. It went on in societies and politics in Latin America. Peoples’ politics is getting manifested in a number of state machines there in the continent.
This rupture, a rupture in the empire’s leadership in the region, is a show of the empire’s declining influence. This trend, decline in influence, will gather strength, which means people’s struggles will gain strength, and, that will be, hopefully, get reflected in states.
The Los Angeles summit will have fora and documents/declarations, such as Civil Society Forum and Young Americas Forum, and Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity, Action Plan on Health and Resilience in the Americas, and Los Angeles Declaration on Migration.
But with neo-liberalism, which is unbridled capitalism, with imperialist interest dominating entire activities and programs, the ‘civil’ society, the ‘young’ group, the ‘partnership’ can bring nothing but expansion of imperialist interest and control. Not dignity, but dictation will prevail; not prosperity, but exploitation will expand.
Cuba, the country standing with dignity, has already said: It is part of effort to apply the Monroe doctrine.
‘What our region demands is’, said Cuban foreign ministry, ‘cooperation, not exclusion; solidarity, not meanness; respect, not arrogance; sovereignty and self-determination, not subordination.’
That s the problem with imperialist interest — meanness, arrogance, subordination. Imperialism does not allow cooperation, solidarity, respect, dignity, sovereignty, self-determination.
Otherwise, it would not have planned the summit arbitrarily, as if it is the sole holder of the meterstick of democracy and autocracy. It appears the Empire is the sole master for defining democracy, electoral process, legitimacy. But, reality is different; and much different reality will emerge tomorrow, as peoples in countries are learning from their experiences, as info on imperialism-financed ‘democracy’ programmes are getting exposed at an increasing rate, as peoples in countries are increasingly opposing imperialist designs.
For the empire, this ruptured summit will stand as a symbol of its decreasing power of leadership in the region.
It has already been facing competition from China in the region. It would not be easy to press out China from the region now. Neither it is a quick task nor a few billion dollars’ job. The summit with assurances of a few billions of dollars, thus, will stand as a symbol of the empire’s decline in a region, which it considers its backyard.
Farooque Chowdhury writes from Dhaka, Bangladesh. His recent publications include With the Passing Time (NGG Books, Dhaka, 2021).