On Wednesday, Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega called for strengthening the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) as the most appropriate space for the meeting of the peoples and their governments of the region. “Our starting point is CELAC. Now we need to strengthen it so that this community has more sovereignty and autonomy,” he said during the celebrations for the 127th anniversary of the birth of Augusto Cesar Sandino, the hero of the Nicaraguan struggle against U.S. imperialism. "CELAC was born with the strength and energy of the revolutionary processes that were multiplying in Latin America and the Caribbean," Ortega recalled, stressing that its promoters had the courage not to include the United States in that community.
The grandly named Summit of the Americas is due to be held in Los Angeles next month, if the Biden administration can decide who to invite and what to talk about if they turn up. As things stand, Bolivia, Mexico, Argentina, Honduras and most of the Caribbean states have said they will not attend if Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua are not included. Although Biden no longer calls them the ‘troika of tyranny’ like Trump did, the governments of these three countries are still ostracized by Washington. But in Latin America, Biden’s threat to exclude them from the party has not gone down well. While it might be Washington’s turn to host the summit, the invitation list is supposed to include every state in the two continents, regardless of political disposition.
US observers are becoming increasingly worried that next month’s Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles is about to be one of the Biden Administration’s worst-ever foreign policy embarrassments following last August’s chaotic evacuation from Afghanistan. Politico headlined a piece about how “Biden’s Americas summit is drawing jeers and threats of boycott”, which reported that several Latin American leaders are threatening to boycott the event if Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela aren’t invited to attend. While Antigua, Barbuda, and Bolivia might not be a big deal in the grand scheme of US strategy towards the hemisphere, Brazil and Mexico’s abstention would make the event utterly meaningless since they alone count for half of the region’s population as Politico reminded their audience.
Bolivia's President Luis Arce warned that he will not attend the next Summit of the Americas if the United States excludes Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. “Consistent with the Bolivian Plurinational State's principles and values, I reaffirm that a Summit of the Americas, which excludes American countries, will not be a full Summit of the Americas. If the exclusion of sister nations persists, I will not participate,” Arce tweeted. “Bolivia bases its international relations on the diplomacy of the peoples, with inclusion, solidarity, complementarity, respect for sovereignty, self-determination, and collective construction of a culture of dialogue and peace,” he added. In the past week, President Joe Biden's administration confirmed that he would not invite Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela because these countries "do not respect" democracy.
The world wants to see an end to the conflict in Ukraine. The NATO countries, however, want to prolong the conflict by increasing arms shipments to Ukraine and by declaring that they want to “weaken Russia.” The United States had already allocated $13.6 billion to arm Ukraine. Biden has just requested $33 billion more. By comparison, it would require $45 billion per year to end world hunger by 2030. Even if negotiations take place and the war ends, an actual peaceful solution will not likely be possible. Nothing leads us to believe that geopolitical tensions will decrease, since behind the conflict around Ukraine is an attempt by the West to halt the development of China, to break its links with Russia, and to end China’s strategic partnerships with the Global South.
Mexico City, Mexico – The upcoming Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles is poised to become a diplomatic liability for US President Joe Biden as the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) alliance threatened to boycott the event over efforts by the host nation to exclude Cuba and Venezuela from participating. "The Summit of the Americas is in danger (...) If the United States insists on not inviting Cuba to this meeting, it will immediately cause 14 CARICOM countries not to attend," said Antigua and Barbuda's Ambassador to the US Ronald Sanders last month. Sanders added that CARICOM members would also boycott should the US as host insist on inviting Venezuelan opposition figure Juan Guaidó in place of democratically elected President Nicolás Maduro.
Brazil’s left-wing leader Lula da Silva has proposed creating a pan-Latin American currency, in order to “be freed of the dollar.” A founder of Brazil’s Workers’ Party, Lula served as president for two terms, from 2003 to 2011. He is now the leading candidate as Brazil’s October 2022 presidential elections approach. If he returns to the presidency, “We are going to create a currency in Latin America, because we can’t keep depending on the dollar,” Lula said in a speech at a rally on May 2. He revealed that the currency would be called the Sur, which means “South” in Spanish. Lula explained that countries in Latin America could still keep their sovereign domestic currency, but they could use the Sur to do bilateral trade with each other, instead of having to exchange for US dollars.
Leaders of the World Peace Council (WPC) and its member organizations, as well as prominent figures, academics, anti-war activists and friends in solidarity with Cuba, are present in the event, to be held until Thursday, May 5. According to the program, WPC President Maria do Socorro Gomes, that organization’s Executive secretary Iraklis Tsavdaridis and Venezuela’s Deputy Foreign Minister Carlos Ron Martinez are also attending the Seminar. According to the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP), the meeting will demand the cessation of the arms race being developed by the United States along with its allies of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Participants will also support the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Peace Zone, endorsed by the heads of State and Government of the region in January 2014.
Americans are fervently cheering for Ukraine in a war that many believe is a decisive struggle for human freedom. The intensity of our infatuation makes it easy to assume that everyone in the world shares it. They don’t. The impassioned American reaction is matched only in Europe, Canada, and the handful of U.S. allies in East Asia. For many people in the rest of the world, the Russia-Ukraine conflict is just another pointless Western war in which they have no stake. The two biggest countries in Latin America, Mexico and Brazil, have refused to impose sanctions on Russia or to curtail trade. South Africa, the economic powerhouse of the African continent, has done the same. Asia, though, is where the resistance to joining the pro-Ukraine bloc appears most deliberate and widespread.
Nicaragua’s Sandinista government expelled the US-dominated Organization of American States (OAS) on April 24. Nicaragua’s Foreign Ministry denounced the Washington-based organization as a “deceitful agency of the State Department of yankee imperialism,” calling it the US “Ministry of the Colonies,” which exists to support “interventions and invasions, legitimizing coups d’etat in various forms and modes.” On April 26, the Sandinista government further announced that it had expropriated the building where the OAS had offices in the Nicaraguan capital Managua. This office was declared public property, and will now be used to build a “Museum of Shame” that documents imperialist crimes committed against Nicaragua and Latin America.
In early March, Argentina’s government came to an Agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on a $45 billion deal to shore up its shaky finances. This deal was motivated by the government’s need to pay a $2.8 billion instalment on a $57 billion IMF stand-by loan taken out under former President Mauricio Macri in 2018. This loan – the largest loan in the financial institution’s history – sharpened divides in Argentinian society. The following year, the Macri administration was ousted in elections by the center-left Frente de Todos coalition which campaigned on a sharp anti-austerity, anti-IMF program. When President Alberto Fernández took office in December 2019, he refused the final $13 billion tranche of the IMF’s loan package, a move applauded by large sections of Argentinian society.
On April 11, 2002, Venezuela’s democratically elected government, headed by Hugo Chávez Frías, was ousted in a military coup d’etat. Then, dramatically, two days later, the coup was overturned by a mass mobilization of Venezuelans. They demanded the restoration of democracy and the return of a government that appeared to be making good on its commitment to redistribute Venezuela’s oil wealth to benefit the country’s most marginalized sectors. These events led to lasting ramifications not just for Venezuela, but for Latin America and the Caribbean as a whole, paving the way for a “pink tide” of progressive movements that took power democratically throughout the region.