Assessment of the IX Summit of the Americas: A Success

US President Joe Biden during the Ninth Summit of the Americas. (EFE)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Elías Amor Bravo, Economist, 13 June 2022 — A certain sense of failure has been the conclusion conveyed by many media about the recent IX Summit of the Americas held in Los Angeles. But in fact it has been the opposite  The defenders of the failure thesis rely on the fact that the absences of Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela have tarnished the efforts of the President of the United States, Biden, to give the meeting new political weight and momentum in order to maintain the space for regional cooperation. What is the OAS? None of that is true.

In fact, an important agreement was reached at this summit, the “Declaration of Los Angeles on Migration and Protection,” supported by twenty American countries, including the United States, Mexico and several Central American nations. The Declaration includes, for the first time, a series of concrete commitments to contain the migration crisis in the region. Which, on the other hand, is one of the main problems in Latin America.

The absence of Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela, certainly questioned by some attendees, is, however, a political success of this Summit. In the specific case of Cuba, its ideological approaches have not changed since it was expelled from the OAS in 1962. Cuban President Díaz-Canel himself took charge of the will of the Havana regime to intervene in support of “the struggle of the peoples against imperialism.” Language like this hardly has a place in international peace forums. Díaz-Canel has committed one of the biggest blunders of his mandate.

Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, absent due to Biden’s veto, have very little, almost nothing to contribute to the OAS. They are not even capable of taking advantage of their own projects of regional union that were born in times of expensive oil, and that have slowly been dying due to the lack of resources and concrete initiatives. In addition, at a summit in which the debates on the migratory crisis was going to be the focus, what could those three countries say, having seen how very important parts of their population flee from the ideological implantation of communism? They have little or nothing to contribute, except to apologize to the rest of the countries for creating these migratory problems in the region, but Venezuela has not yet addressed its neighbor Colombia to acknowledge the massive flight of its nationals to this country.

For this reason, Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua chose, for obvious reasons of political interest, not to participate in the summit in which they were going to be identified as the origin of a serious regional problem, and they preferred, especially Cuba, to attack the summit and look for allies who could voice the complaint.

The reaction of some leaders was as expected: the presidents of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador; Bolivia, Luis Arce; and Honduras, Xiomara Castro, did not go to Los Angeles, instead sending their foreign ministers, possibly taking advantage of the occasion so as not to be compromised with the migratory problem caused by their respective countries.

And then, some attendees were especially aggressive with an issue, that of the vetoes, which was believed to have been overcome since 2015, when Cuba attended a Summit of the Americas for the first time, in Panama, after six previous editions.

Even the Argentine president, Alberto Fernández, asked that the hosts of the summits stop having the right of admission over the invited countries and went even further, defending a restructuring of the Organization of American States (OAS). Fernández attended the summit with favorable data on Argentine migrations, so as president pro tempore of the Castroist CELAC, he questioned the absences.

Mexico, represented by its foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, also came to say more or less the same thing and condemned the United States, saying that “20 countries spoke out against the exclusions, 10 did not speak out and only 2 were in favor.” Even the Chilean president, Gabriel Boric, who was making his debut at a Summit of the Americas, made it clear “either we save ourselves together, or we are going to sink separately (…) We cannot settle for being clubs that exclude countries that think the same” and added, “the model is exhausted.”

All these criticisms have a background. The leaders of Latin America do not want Luis Almagro at the head of the OAS General Secretariat , nor at the head of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Cuban-American Mauricio Claver-Carone. They are the enemies that must be beaten, the pieces of the big game, on which the Cuban regime has put a high price.

For this reason, Biden did well to forget about the “absentees.” There was not the slightest reason to criticize, and he focused his speech on unity, centering the objectives of the summit on problems such as the migration crisis, post-pandemic economic recovery and climate change. And it seems, according to reports in the media, he has been successful.

For example, Bolsonaro, towards whom Biden maintains a cold and distant position, and who aspires to re-election in Brazil in October, focused his speech on an internal electoral key, on fighting against the record levels of deforestation in the Amazon and in defense of a regional environmental policy.

All in all, the main result of this IX Summit of the Americas has been the “Declaration of Los Angeles on Migration and Protection.” A pact signed by 20 countries, under the sponsorship of the United States, which has established responsibilities in the migration crisis, to put a stop to “illegal migration.” An issue in which Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua would have been blurred in the face of reality.

Just for having stood up to illegal migration at the regional level, and calling it something that is not acceptable, with the commitment to secure borders, the summit can be called a success. The 15,000 people who during that time cross the jungle areas of Central America to try to reach the United States, with a high presence of Cubans, Venezuelans and Nicaraguans, is an example of the scope of the summit pact, which, if implemented properly, can end up putting an end to these illegal migration processes. The message to Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela is clear and also democratic, something to which these countries are not usually accustomed.


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