President Barack Obama under the gun at the
Americas Summit: Is
the United States listening to its Latin American partners?
Summits of the Americas Serve Only Washington’s Interests (La Jornada, Mexico)
“It is crystal clear that during meetings such as this, the U.S.
government has no willingness to broach issues of importance to Latin America. Summits
of the Americas are unresponsive to interests in the region. Rather, they constitute
a mechanism for applying neo-colonialist pressure from Washington.”
At the continental summit that opened on Saturday in
Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, there was an obvious divergence
of priorities and themes between the United States and Canada on the one side
and a majority of Latin American governments on the other.
For President Obama, there was to be no discussion of the drug
trafficking strategy Washington imposed on the nations of the hemisphere nearly
forty years ago. This is despite the strategy’s irrefutably high cost and distressing
failure, which has resulted in hundreds of thousands dead, the strengthening of
criminal organizations, increased drug addiction, institutional disintegration
and the weakening of state structures. At this point, even right-wing leaders
like summit host Juan Manuel Santos and Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina agree on the need to revise a policy based on
police and military persecution of criminal groups, and which ignores the
complexity of the social, economic and historical aspects of drug related
crime, particularly drug trafficking.
The U.S. president has left no room for doubt as to his
determination to focus the summit on exclusively economic affairs, in particular in
the pursuit of increased exports from his country to Latin America, sidelining
issues like the fight against poverty, technological cooperation and the design
of measures to be implemented to deal with disaster. For the U.S., issues like
drug trafficking, Cuba’s inclusion in these hemispheric summits and Argentina’s
historic claim over the Malvinas Islands were off the agenda.
In short, it is crystal clear that during meetings such as
this, the U.S. government has no willingness to broach issues of importance to
Latin America. Summits of the Americas are unresponsive to interests in the
region. Rather, they constitute a mechanism for applying neo-colonialist pressure
from Washington to areas south of the Rio Grande.
Posted by Worldmeets.US
Regrettably, President Felipe Calderon has yielded Mexico’s
interests and priorities to those of the U.S. It is well known that the
Michoacán politician (one of Mexico's 32 states) is one of few Latin American
leaders who continue to defend the anti-drug strategy imposed on the region by
the White House since the days of Richard Nixon, who would have shared Obama’s strategy
of keeping the issue off the table.
Furthermore, upon arrival in Cartagena during a meeting with
business people, President Calderón rose up in defense
of the neo-liberal creed, attacking the strengthening of the state sector, which characterizes
a substantial number of governments in South America. And he did so precisely
at a moment that a confrontation arose between the sovereign government of
Argentina and Spanish oil and gas company Repsol. He
reiterated his faith in trade liberalization as a panacea for overcoming all
obstacles to development and prosperity.
Hopefully, the government that takes office in December, whatever
its partisan leanings, will be capable of relocating Mexico
to the side of Latin America and overcoming the snowballing subordination of
national policy and interests to those of the White House.
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