There is growing criticism of US presumptions of supremacy and US foreign policy promoting division and conflict. This was expressed by leaders who stayed away from the Summit of Americas and also many leaders who attended. The Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Amor Mottley, said frankly, “It’s wrong that Cuba and Venezuela and Nicaragua are not here, because as you heard from Bahamas, we need to speak with those with whom we disagree….There’s too much narrow-casting instead of broadcasting. There’s too much talking at, instead of talking with…. And the simple priority must be people, not ideology.” US exceptionalism and the exclusion of countries is increasingly being challenged. This matches the global criticisms of US unilateral sanctions. At the last UN General Assembly, the vote was 184-2 in denouncing US embargo on Cuba. Seventy percent of world nations believes US sanctions violate international law.
Summit of the Americas
Mr. Biden, the US President, expressed his hopes as he said: “I think I find no reason why the Western Hemisphere, the Western Hemisphere over the next 10 years, does not develop into the most democratic hemisphere in the world, most democratic region in the entire world.” He identified important factors in the region: “We have everything. We have the people, we have the resources and we have more democracies in this hemisphere than any other hemisphere.” So, the US leader expressed hope: “This is a lot we can do, but a lot of it matters in the private enterprise side equation.” He mentioned “enormous ideas and opportunities” in the region.
We, representatives of Trade Union, Peasant, Political and Social organizations, gathered in Tijuana – Mexico, June 10-12, 2022, on the occasion of the realization of the Summit of the Americas of the Working Men and Women Workers, in immediate response to the exclusion of Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua imposed by the Government of the United States. There is a systemic and structural crisis of capitalism in its imperialist phase. It is in itself a civilizational crisis. The capitalist economic model and its political arm neoliberalism, as well as its modern cultural foundation, have put the planet’s life in crisis. If not eliminated, imperialism’s necropolitics leads us to the planetary collective suicide, which is more lacerating in the sectors less favored by the current world system.
I tip my cap, as we all should, to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico. And to Presidents Luis Arce of Bolivia, Xiaomara Castro of Honduras, Alejandro Giammattei of Guatemala and Nayib Bukele of El Savador. They all pointedly declined to join President Joe Biden at his Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles last week, joining to protest Biden’s refusal to invite Miguel Díaz–Canel, Nicolás Maduro and Daniel Ortega, the presidents of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua respectively. Add it up. Eight of the region’s 33 nations were absent when Biden convened the summit “to demonstrate the resurgence of U.S. leadership in the region,” as the government-supervised New York Times forlornly put it. Don’t they ever get tired of these long-exhausted phrases over on Eighth Avenue?
While hosting the Ninth Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles last week, the Biden administration sought to ostracize Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela by excluding them due to an alleged “lack of democratic space and human rights situations”. The resulting backlash caused these three countries to be the most discussed topic inside and outside the summit venue, as governments and social movements in Latin America and the Caribbean questioned whether the United States has the right or moral authority to pass judgment on the form of government each nation chooses. There was also plenty of skepticism about whether the Organization of American States (OAS), which has served as an instrument for advancing US hegemony in the region, really promotes the interests of the countries of the hemisphere.
The organizers of the People’s Summit for Democracy were determined to close out the summit with a lasting impression on the last day, June 10. The People’s Summit was organized in opposition to the Summit of the Americas that was organized by the US-influenced Organization of American States (OAS) and hosted by the US in Los Angeles. The Summit of the Americas has historically been a place for the US to dictate a political agenda to the Latin American countries. The Summit of the Americas has been plagued by difficulties since May 10, when Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) announced that he would boycott the Summit in protest against the exclusion of Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua from the Summit. Following AMLO’s boycott, a host of Latin American leaders announced their own boycotts of the Summit.
The ninth Summit of the Americas is taking place in Los Angeles from June 6 to 10, organized by the US-influenced Organization of American States. The White House, in announcing the US as the host of the Summit back in January, stated: “Working with the city of Los Angeles, Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti, and Governor of California Gavin Newsom, the United States looks forward to convening leaders and stakeholders across the hemisphere to advance our shared commitment to economic prosperity, security, human rights, and dignity.” The People’s Summit is being organized concurrently in Los Angeles as a working class call to action against the US government interests that have historically underwritten the Summit of the Americas.
Mexico’s left-wing President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has condemned the illegal US blockade of Cuba as a “type of genocide” and “tremendous violation of human rights.” At his daily press briefing on the morning on June 6, López Obrador was asked about his decision to boycott the US government’s Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, California. The Mexican president, known popularly by the acronym AMLO, explained that he refused to attend in order to protest Washington’s exclusion of Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua. López Obrador denounced the blockade that the United States has imposed on Cuba for more than 60 years, in flagrant violation of international law.
Los Angeles, California - "We are here today in front of the Convention Center protesting against the Summit of the Americas and particularly the exclusion of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. It is not really the Summit of the Americas if a large part of that continent and the peoples of Latin America are excluded from the Summit," Answer Coalition director Brian Becker told Sputnik. They also demand an end to the blockade of Cuba, he added. The demonstrators shouted chants directed at U.S. President Joe Biden for his decision to leave out these three nations. Participants also carried Cuban, Nicaraguan and Venezuelan flags and banners. "Solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution of Venezuela," "Stop the U.S. destabilization campaign and media lies," and "End all U.S. sanctions and blockades" were some of the phrases read on the demonstrators' placards.
The Summit of the Americas has begun in Los Angeles and the Tower of Babel that Biden built is already tottering. Since June 6, the civil society forums have been in session and clashes between those who support the hegemonic role of the United States and those who defend the sovereignty of the Latin American peoples have not ceased. In these spaces, the discourse of hatred towards those arbitrarily excluded by the U.S. government has prevailed. It was a scenario prepared down to the smallest detail since not only were the governments of Nicaragua, Cuba, and Venezuela excluded, but their civil society representatives. At this point, the most visible case is the 23 Cuban artists, scientists, and social leaders whose visas were not processed to prevent them from attending the Peoples’ Summit. The objective is to make the reality of Cuba and the other states invisible, to replace it with a different one that justifies the permanent aggressions these peoples suffer. That’s why the organizers have invited other political actors, disguised as civil society activists, whose speeches are not only in line with the U.S. policy of interference but are designed in the State Department or the office of some Senators and Congressmen.
The opening day of the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, California, was stained by brutal police repression of demonstrations. The meeting has already been marred by controversy surrounding the White House’s refusal to invite Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, giving rise to boycotts and complaints from many other nations of the Americas. Perhaps most notable was the refusal of Mexico’s President, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, to attend. News outlets and social media platforms shared numerous videos of the scene in which a towering Los Angeles police officer violently attacked a woman who was speaking into a bullhorn, tackling her onto the pavement and delivering blows to her face.
For the Peoples of our Region, the Failure of Biden’s Summit of the Americas Would be a Welcome Event
I applaud the decision by Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador not to attend this week’s so-called Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles and hope that by Wednesday a majority of the nations in our region would have joined him. However, I am hoping that unlike President Lopez Obrador who is still sending the Mexican foreign minister, other nations demonstrate that their dignity cannot be coerced and stay away completely. Why do I take this position? If the threat by the Biden Administration as host of the Summit not to invite Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela, all sovereign nations in the Americas’ region, was not outrageous enough, the announced rationale that the administration did not invite these nations because of their human rights record and authoritarian governance is an absurd indignity that cannot be ignored.
The People’s Summit for Democracy began in Los Angeles on Wednesday, June 8. However, it is much more than just an alternative to the Biden administration’s and the Organization of American States’ Summit of the Americas. The Summit of the Americas has historically been a place for the United States, which plays a central role in the OAS and which continues to exploit the Americas for resources and markets, to present its own agenda for the region. But this year, beginning with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, many Latin American leaders across the continent decided to boycott the summit entirely. The boycott was a protest against the exclusion of the Latin American nations that the United States is most hostile towards: Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Cuba.