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Summit of the Americas (Who cares?)

If we assume that the objective of the Summit of the Americas was, once again, to open a space for the democratic leaders of the countries to discuss solutions to common problems that affect our brothers and sisters on the continent… then we can already assume that the Summit in Los Angeles is a reverend failure. There is an unequivocal reality: In order to be part of the “Club”, a requirement is to be a democratic “ruler” willing to submit to the scrutiny of the neighbors, and above all of the United States government. And apparently, the rulers of the hemisphere understand the concept of “democracy” in a very different way from the definition they had ten years ago. And although the banner of “Latin American unity” proposed by the musketeer of the president of Mexico, “we all go or no one goes”, “one for all and all for one”, justifies Andrés Manuel López Obrador not going. The truth is that his buddy from Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, would never set foot on US soil because of the arrest warrant against him and most of his cabinet. And D’artagnan Ortega, the other unpresentable musketeer, knows that he will never be able to leave Nicaragua, without worrying about being arrested or allowed to return to the country; his government is indefensible even by the most authoritarian governments in the hemisphere. It would seem that Ortega and his cabinet have “seismic pox” and all the rulers of the hemisphere maintain a healthy distance. The madness, the authoritarianism and the historical shame are contagious: Not even President Andrés Manuel López Obrador himself has visited Nicaragua or sought a public approach to defend the authoritarianism of Ortega and his cronies. So why insist they go to Los Angeles? And in the case of Cuba…. Does anyone really believe that Miguel Mario Díaz-Canel had the intention of setting foot on US soil? Obviously not…. His presence would ensure protests, questions, newspaper headlines and above all, a public confrontation of the disaster that is Cuba. I don’t think that the Cuban president wanted to risk, at this moment, a visit to the Yankee empire.

We could conclude that López Obrador used Maduro, Ortega and Diaz-Canel as an excuse not to go to Los Angeles, a forum where he is exposed and cannot control the press, the questioning. It is easier to accuse, confront, question Joe Biden from his morning conferences.

Other leaders have other reasons for not going to the democratic “party” in California, in part because they simply do not like the scrutiny and questioning by the United States government. They will surely feel a great relief not having to go to the president of Guatemala, Salvador and Brazil, all of which are governments questioned by the Biden administration.

For those who argued that President Joe Biden could benefit politically from demonstrating that the United States, once again, seeks to play a role in the future of the hemisphere, I think they have fruit on their heads. Can someone explain to me how Joe Biden and the Democratic Party benefit from sponsoring a Summit where the participants will seek to publicly criticize the United States for not investing more taxpayer money in the hemisphere, not controlling the drug use of its citizens, and for demanding that less corruption and more democracy than its counterparts in the hemisphere?

With everything that is happening in the United States right now, it would not be surprising if the White House sought to “postpone” the famous Summit. The political cost is not worth it for Joe Biden and the Democratic candidates for the midterm elections. The only issue that could matter to the media and open the door for more criticism of Biden and his team would be the way the immigration issue is addressed (stop the flow), corruption, and how they address the authoritarianism and anti-Yankeeism of the countries of the Latin American left.

Why insist? More than helping to unify the Americas, this summit will divide the hemisphere. Therefore, canceling, postponing, or holding the summit with “friendly” countries could be an option. The convening capacity of the United States is indisputable and it will be able to negotiate directly with friendly (and enemy) countries in the region. Biden will be able to negotiate bilateral agreements and continue with a foreign policy that focuses, unfortunately, on those issues that have an immediate political impact: migration, drugs, Chinese and Russian influence in the hemisphere. Mexico and the rest of the continent will see if the utopia of a united Latin America is really real, or one more excuse to justify the poverty, corruption, insecurity and authoritarianism that exists in the hemisphere.

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