PICTURED: Gov. Gavin Newsom greets President Biden at Los Angeles International Airport on Wednesday before the start of the Summit of the Americas. PC: Evan Vucci, AP. Fair Use.
LOS ANGELES, California. June 6th, 2022. As the Summit of the Americas kicked off in Los Angeles on Monday, it was clear just hours before that a major opportunity to restore America’s standing in the Western Hemisphere had been lost.
The largest diplomatic summit across the two continents and the Caribbean would include just two-thirds of the hemisphere’s heads of state after Biden’s decision to unilaterally exclude Nicaragua, Cuba, and Venezuela from attending prompted a boycott in protest.
Led by Mexico, the boycott stole away appearances from the leaders of Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Bolivia, as well as the aforementioned three socialist countries. President Luis Lacalle Pou of Uruguay also did not attend, stating he contracted COVID-19.
CARICOM, the Caribbean regional union, reported that only 7 of the fifteen island states have confirmed attendance, with the leaders of Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Antigua and Barbuda, all unlikely to show.
Brett Bruen, who served in the Obama White House, called the summit “an unmitigated disaster for American diplomacy in our own hemisphere,” stating that “the fact that we could not figure out the most basic things like who is coming, what are the major deliverables to be announced, is a national embarrassment”.
The first Summit of the Americas was held in 1994 in Miami, and this year marks the first return of the summit to the U.S. since that day. This span of 28 years was emphasized by Bruen as highlighting the gravity of the opportunity that was missed.
Nevertheless, Biden’s Administration did not choose to alter the guest list, even in the face of criticism from Mexico, which epitomized to some leaders just how little regard the U.S. actually has for engagement in the region.
Biden’s 15-minute speech to open the summit reinforced these suspicions. In it the word “democracy” found its way into nearly every sentence, and was used in the same way as the word “club” is used to describe both an exclusive group of people, and a weapon to bludgeon one’s enemies with.
“As we meet again today, in a moment when democracy is under assault around the world, let us unite again and renew our conviction that democracy is not only the defining feature of American histories, but the essential ingredient to Americas’ futures,” the president said. “We don’t always agree on everything. But because we’re democracies, we work through our disagreements with mutual respect and dialogue”.
There has never been a greater enemy of democracy in Latin America than the United States. The nation’s various intelligence services have repeatedly declassified, or been forced to admit to conducting, multiple regime change operations ranging in scope from funding all-out war in Nicaragua and to a genocide against the Maya-minority in Guatemala, to opposition funding in Brazil and international pressure campaigns in Bolivia and Venezuela.
The CIA tried to assassinate Fidel Castro at least 7 times, though Cuban secret service officials have claimed it was dozens. Argentina, Chile, El Salvador and the Dominican Republic have all had their governments overthrown, suffering hugely-varying degrees of violence, from the United States during the 20th century.
The fact that Biden can talk about democracy being the “defining feature of the Americas” so openly is astounding when the scope of oppression and loss of life can be turned up by a single Wikipedia search. Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obrador, hinted as such when on the day of the summit’s start, he condemned it, suggesting it was nothing more than the “9th Summit of America’s Friends”.
“There cannot be a Summit of the Americas if all countries of the Americas cannot attend,” López Obrador said at his daily press conference in Mexico City. “This is to continue the old interventionist policies, of lack of respect for nations and their people”.
At a time of record-U.S. inflation rates, when the prices of necessities like food, gas, and rent, are rising towards unmanageable levels, Biden nevertheless displayed a penchant for his belief that democracies can fix any problem, provided enough money is thrown at it.
Among the initiatives touted by his administration were a $300 million food security financing bill, and a Caribbean climate funding partnership that will provide access to those living in the CARICOM with low-carbon energy alternatives.
A program called the America Health Corps to train 500,000 Latin American healthcare workers to help combat future infectious diseases was also announced, alongside a change to the Inter-American Development Bank, and a vow to invest U.S. capital in the bank’s private sector financing arm to enhance digital connectivity, renewable energy, and health.
Vice President Kamala Harris has been lobbying private companies to invest more money in Latin America as a way to combat migration, hoping that through strengthening communities in at risk countries, people will be less likely to migrate. However most of this $750 million in private investment (coupled with $4 billion of taxpayer money) is coming from mega-corporations like PepsiCo, Mastercard, Nespresso, and Microsoft.
In the instance of Nespresso, WaL has reported that large societal projects by the world’s biggest coffee companies rarely result in any meaningful benefit in the standard of living for rural coffee farmers in the Coffee Belts, especially in the current climates of inflation in the world’s largest coffee-consuming regions of North America and Europe.
Latin American countries however came with their own set of agendas. In place of López Obrador came Mexico’s, Foreign Minister, Marcelo Ebrard, who along with bringing up the issue of ending the 60-year embargo on Cuba, proposed re-founding a new hemispheric union called the Inter-American Order, pointing out that the Organization of American States participated unilaterally in the shameful pressure-led coup d’état in Bolivia recently.
Indeed, WaL pegged the OAS following the coup is an American intelligence/State Department cutout, that receives 97.5% of all its funding from the U.S. government.
Throughout the botched summit, Mexico has really established, if it was her purpose to do so, that there is a multi-polar Western Hemisphere, and that leaders who don’t want to follow the United States’ dictates have another option under the regional leadership of the non-aligned Mexico.