gl. From 8 to 9 June, the next Summit of the Americas will take place in Los Angeles. Members of the OAS (Organisation of American States) are Canada and the USA as well as the 32 Latin American and Caribbean states. Founded in 1948, the organisation has been criticised for several years by various Latin American governments for being too heavily influenced by the USA. After decades of exclusion, Cuba was invited to a summit meeting for the first time in 2015, after all Latin American states had spoken out in favour. The incipient normalisation in US relations with Cuba was already interrupted again by President Trump in 2018, and sanctions were further tightened. This policy has so far also been continued by the Biden administration. The US government, as this year’s host of the Summit of the Americas, announced that it would not invite Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela because they were not democracies.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador then repeatedly demanded that no country should be excluded from the summit. Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela are part of the Americas and must be allowed to participate.
On a tour of the Central American states of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Cuba, López Obrador repeatedly pointed out the importance of a united America. He announced that he would only attend the summit in Los Angeles if Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua were also invited. It should be a summit of dialogue and brotherhood. “No one – no matter how powerful – has the right to treat any country badly, no matter how small. All nations are free and independent, sovereign. There is no nation that can set itself up as ruler of the world. Neither Russia, nor China, nor the United States.”1 Other countries joined the call: Guatemala, Bolivia, Honduras as well as 13 Caribbean states. Brazil and Argentina are also hesitant to pledge their participation.
The US government can no longer simply ignore this demand. The days are over when the USA alone set the tone. In mid-May, the USA announced small relaxations in the economic blockade against Cuba. Cubans will again be allowed to transfer more than the ridiculous maximum amount of 1000 dollars per quarter to their relatives in Cuba. At the same time, the USA announced the start of negotiations between the oil company Chevron and the Venezuelan state oil company, which has been heavily sanctioned up to now. The fact that this decision was probably not entirely altruistic was certainly noticed in Latin America. In its editorial of 18 May, the major Mexican newspaper “La Jornada” sees a connection between the sudden concessions to Cuba and Venezuela, which in its view are insufficient, and the “increasing rejection of Washington’s arbitrary policies on the continent”. However, all economic sanctions should be lifted, “because they are immoral and unjust, they cause permanent economic crises in the countries that are their victims, they lead to suffering and deprivation in the respective populations and, in the end, they are completely ineffective, as evidenced by the continuing blockade against the Cuban revolution, which has not brought about any significant changes on the island for 60 years.” Countries to the south of the United States should “strengthen their demand that the superpower abandon its exclusionary and illegal policies, accept coexistence and dialogue with governments of different orientations, and abandon once and for all its claim to dictate to other countries how they should govern themselves.”2 •
1 https://www.jornada.com.mx/notas/2022/05/21/politica/no-se-gana-nada-con-la-division-amlo-al-referirse-a-cumbre/ of 21 May 2022
2 https://www.jornada.com.mx/notas/2022/05/18/opinion/washington-cambios-insuficientes-20220518/ of 18 May 2022
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