Tuesday, September 27, 2022

The Summit of the Americas: also in Ukraine?

The 2022 Summit of the Americas is about to begin, here, in Los Angeles, California. And, by now, everyone is clear about the White House’s position of not inviting countries it considers adversaries, especially Cuba and Venezuela.

Opinions are divided on this issue. On the one hand, there are those who defend Washington’s decision; it is the host and it decides who to invite, they say. On the other side, there are those who see this attitude as a mistake; and worse, a danger for the future of the continent.

But there is one issue that has escaped the attention of those who have analyzed the matter, and that is that the Summit will not only take place in Los Angeles, but also more than five thousand six hundred kilometers away from there, that is, in Kiev, Ukraine.

Yes, because President Joe Biden is determined to add followers to the war against Russia among the Latin American and Caribbean countries and that is a fundamental part of the agenda of the great continental meeting.

Biden en inmigración revertir lo hecho por Obama
Biden en inmigración revertir lo hecho por Obama

The dirty work has been done by the Organization of American States (OAS). Its president, Luis Leonardo Almagro Lemes, is the architect of the idea of leaving out Cuba and Venezuela because, in his opinion, they are allies of Moscow; therefore, enemies of the interests of the United States in Ukraine. Therefore, the decision to leave them out is also intended to be a message to the rest of the Latin American and Caribbean countries: You are with me or against me.

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Biden has already spent more than forty billion dollars in “aid” to the Ukrainian government. And it is possible that he will authorize a greater expenditure in the following months. To get an idea of what this means, the White House allocated just $1.9 billion in its plan to contain the economic cost of COVID on its own territory, less than five percent of the bills it has already put in Volodimir Zelensky’s pocket. In contrast, the budget to alleviate the causes of migration in Central America and Haiti barely exceeds $980 million. During the pandemic, the United States practically forgot Latin America and only granted twenty-two million dollars to Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. The rest were left to fend for themselves.

However, solidarity among Latin American and Caribbean countries did not cease. The alliance between Mexico and Argentina made it possible to have enough vaccines from the Astra Zeneca laboratory. Cuba sent medical brigades to poor Caribbean nations such as Dominica and St. Vincent, but also to countries such as Mexico and Bolivia. The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States had access to vaccines thanks to their block adhesion to the World Health Organization’s Covax mechanism. What would have become of these peoples without solidarity in times of death?

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That is why the position of the White House must change. Joe Biden has in Barack Obama an example of diplomacy when, the former president shook hands with Raul Castro during the Summit of the Americas in Panama in 2015 and then visited Havana. But the policy of the current tenant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is more similar to that of Donald Trump than that of the administration in which he served as vice president.

Is it too late to repair the mistakes and invite all countries, without exception? Issues such as migration, climate change, economic recovery and drug trafficking require the participation of every people in the Americas. The Los Angeles Summit could be the beginning of a new era.

Luis Alberto Rodriguez Angeles. Writer and journalist. National Journalism Award for Human Rights by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Mexico. Reporter with 20 years of experience covering social movements. Teacher and activist.

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