Ecuador President Rafael Correa: His decision not to attend the
of the America’s,
suggesting that U.S. ‘hegemony’ is the reason, has
heat in the run-up to the event, which will to be held April
14 and 15 in Colombia.
To Send ‘Imperialists’
a Message on Cuba, Correa Should Go to Summit of the Americas (El Comercio, Ecuador)
“It was and remains
valid to demand that Cuba be present at the Summit in Cartagena, but how
thoughtful is not attending? Why not use the space of the summit to insist on that
demand? … Surely other presidents would emphatically agree to the right of Cuba
to be part of all regional summits, and strongly do so in President Obama’s
Cuba Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez explains that Cuba has chosen not to attend the Summit of the Americas, averting a diplomatic showdown with U.S. leaders who insist that Cuba is not a member of the Organization of American States. Cuba was expelled in 1962.
After what seemed to be daisy-petal plucking from President
Correa about whether to go to the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena on April 14,
his decision was not to go, which he announced by sending a note that is
a severe slap on the wrist to other Latin American and Caribbean heads of state.
Why won’t Correa go? He charges that the lack of consensus, referring
to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, is due only to “the veto of
hegemonic powers, which is an intolerable situation in our 21st century
Is he saying the hosts are hypocrites? And what adjectives do leaders that tolerate such a veto deserve?
Even when President Correa doesn’t say so directly, those
“hegemonic powers” have a name: the United States of America,
and the onus is on President Obama.
We should cite Ecuador’s anti-summit precedent.
It was the April, 1967 performance of Otto ArosemenaGómez in Punta del Este - 45 years ago. But there was a difference: Arosemena went to the summit, and in the presence of then-President
Lyndon Johnson and other leaders of the region, questioned the final statement
of the participants, which was centered on the Alliance for Progress
program, and he refused to sign it. In the same year, for detailing Arosemena’s gesture, the gringo ambassador to Quito
[Ecuador] was declared persona non grata and expelled from the country.
It was and remains valid to demand that Cuba be present at
the summit in Cartagena, but how thoughtful is not attending? Why not use the
space of the summit to insist on that demand?
Surely other presidents would emphatically agree to the
right of Cuba to be part of all regional summits, and strongly do so in President
Obama’s presence. Perhaps Correa would respond by saying that the result of his
absence will be a slap on the wrist. But to believe that would be to demean the
dignity and actions of the American heads of state and government going to
Correa also questions the omission of what he believes
should be the transcendent issues that the regional summit should address: the “inhumane
blockade of Cuba, and the aberrant colonization of the Falkland Islands.” Apart
from speeches, which could be delivered at the summit whether or not they are
on the agenda, there is no way that the outlines of these two recurrent anti-imperialist
themes will be resolved anywhere but at a summit with the United States.
To believe that the solution is a regional summit without
the presence of the United States is nothing but pure rhetoric. There is no
other platform to negotiate on these topics.
Finally, Correa hasn’t hidden his ambition to settle scores against
Commission on Human Rights. Cartagena, he says, could have been the stage
for that - and for him to speak out against the commission’s Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, which has criticized
the state of free expression in the Ecuador].
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