Summit of the Americas: Isn’t it a dud?

The Empire went to assert its position in the Latin America. But it has flopped. CNN headlined: “Snubs, from key leaders at Summit of the Americas reveal Biden’s struggle to assert US leadership in its neighborhood”. It’s a setback for the Empire!

Today, it’s not an unimaginable development in the region.

The IX Summit of the Americas has kicked off in Los Angeles on June 6, 2022; and US President Mr. Biden has formally inaugurated the summit on June 9, 2022.

“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, was under the shadow of failure.

The Empire planned to organize 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, Nicaragua.

The Empire didn’t 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 exclusion, with 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 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 doesn’t 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 health care system stands as an example. It’s far, far advanced, well-organized, well-managed and people-oriented than many, many countries, many advanced, resourceful countries. Denying this fact today is nothing but making oneself a 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 unbelievable fact.

If someone keeps in mind the fact that Cuba was obstructed in procuring syringes and raw materials for Covid-fighting-vaccine, 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, President 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 themselves from the Empire. It’s a challenge to the Empire.

It’s not utterances by a number of state-persons. It’s 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 dynamic; and peoples in those 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 the societies and politics in Latin America. Peoples’ politics are 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 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’s part of effort to apply the Monroe Doctrine.

“What our region demands”, said Cuban Foreign Ministry, “is 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 doesn’t allow cooperation, solidarity, respect, dignity, sovereignty, self-determination.

Otherwise, it wouldn’t have planned the summit arbitrarily as if it’s 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, a much different reality, will emerge tomorrow, as peoples in countries are learning from their experiences, as info on imperialism financed “democracy” programs 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’s already facing competition from China in the region. It wouldn’t be easy to press out China now. Neither is it 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 as its backyard.

Farooque Chowdhury writes from Dhaka, Bangladesh. One of Farooque’s recent books is The Great October Revolution (Dhaka, 2022). Read other articles by Farooque.