The Summit of the Americas it can become a diplomatic stumbling block for the United States. A blow to his cracked hegemony when playing at home. planned for the June 6 in Los Angeles, Californiathe meeting would lose consistency because several Latin American presidents have already announced or slipped that they would not attend. The reason is the discontent generated by Washington’s exclusion of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. The President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) led the rejection of the decisionBolivian Luis Arce followed suit, and the Community of Caribbean Nations (CARICOM) joined, made up of fifteen countries, the vast majority of which were former English-speaking colonies. Its leaders have said they will not participate if the measure is not reviewed. They also added their critics Xiomara Castro, the first president of Honduras, and the president of Argentina, Alberto Fernández. That of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, would not move either, confronted with Joe Biden since he supported Donald Trump in the last elections. Sixty years later, the United States again takes a decision in the same logic as that adopted by the OAS when in 1962 it expelled the island during the conference of Punta del Este. As if the Cold War with the Soviet Union continued into the 21st century.
This Summit, scheduled for 2021, has been postponed for a year due to the pandemic and will take place from June 6 to 10. It will be the ninth since first held in Miami in 1994, when Bill Clinton was governing. The United States did not choose Los Angeles as the location for itself. It is the second largest city in the country, it has a very representative Latino community and the third number of consulates in the world.
The State Department reports on its official website something that is not verified in practice. the declaimed open and unrestricted nature of its summons to the Summit. He says that “the United States has demonstrated, and will continue to demonstrate, its commitment to an inclusive process that incorporates input from people who represent the immense diversity of our hemisphere and includes Indigenous voices and other historically marginalized voices.” .
The CEOs of the Americas
The Summit has been held, with slight changes, once every three years since 1994. It is the only gathering of all leaders from North America, Central America, South America and the Caribbean that usually align with the White House. This time, the business footprint that the United States still reserves for it will be accentuated. The Washington government is planning three forums. The one who most represents their business interests is the so-called Fourth Americas CEO Summit. There will be two more; one from civil society and another from Youth of the Americas.
The exclusion of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, which the United States assumed was going through without too many shocks, became a problem for Biden. The Mexican president said last Tuesday during one of his usual press conferences: “If he is excluded, if everyone is not invited, a representation of the Mexican government will go, but I will not go.” He had just returned from Havana where he had met his colleague, President Miguel Díaz Canel.
Unlike another Mexican president, right-hander Vicente Fox, López Obrador did not fear reprisals from his powerful neighbor. This one went down in history as a pusillanimous at the top of 2004, when the recording of a dialogue with Fidel Castro exposed him to ridicule. Fox asked the revolutionary leader to go to Mexico for the meeting of presidents, but on one condition: “Listen, Fidel, you come, you eat and you leave,” he told him. He did not want George W. Bush, who occupied the White House, to be prejudiced.
No to the FTAA in Mar del Plata
Stories of submission like this, and others of rebellion against what the United States stands for, have occurred throughout the eight summits held to date. That of 2005 in Mar del Plata will be remembered as the no to the FTAA and in the 2009 one organized by Trinidad and Tobago, the former president of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, gave him the book The open veins of Latin America from Eduardo Galeano to President Barack Obama. A rather symbolic gesture from the Bolivarian commander. It was a different time, even if a member of the Democratic Party reigned in Washington, like now.
Along the same path as AMLO, Bolivian President Arce wrote on his Twitter account: “If the exclusion of brotherly peoples persists, I will not participate”. He was referring to the fact that “a Summit of the Americas that excludes American countries will not be a full-fledged Summit of the Americas”. Also from the same social network, the President of Honduras, Xiomara Castro, pointed out: “If all the nations are not there, it is not the Summit of the Americas”.
Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla made no secret of Washington’s determination: “The United States government will not be able to expose itself to the Summit of the Americas after the last campaign and the presidential elections, the assault on the Capitol, the involvement of politicians in sedition, and the insurmountable corruption of politics.
The minister’s description is no stranger to the way the balance of power works in the United States where, according to the New York Times of May 12 “the Biden administration’s plan to exclude Cuba reflects internal political pressures, including an attempt to avoid provoking Robert Menéndez, a Cuban-American Democratic senator from New Jersey, chairman of the Senate Relations Committee foreigners and strong supporter of the Cuban government.”
Although the United States has not yet formalized the invitations to the Los Angeles summit, its Under Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere, Brian Nichols, anticipated in an interview with the newspaper The country of Spain that there is little chance that “Washington will invite Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua”.
López Obrador, on the other hand, maintained that all is not lost. His trip to Havana on May 7 demonstrated the strength of the 120-year-old historical ties between the two countries. He criticized the US blockade, demanded the presence of the island, Venezuela and Nicaragua at the summit and announced that he would insult Biden if he maintained the measure.
The United States intends to discuss in Los Angeles two issues – among others – that are pressing their government: immigration and health policies. Mexico has too much to say on the first and Cuba has demonstrated on the second that it is at the forefront of the world during the pandemic. It was the only Latin country that made its own vaccines and sent its Henry Reeve medical brigades to twenty nations when Covid-19 raged in 2020.