Summit of Americas in Panama: No Compromise Found
Nil Nikandrov - http://www.strategic-culture.org
The major part of the address delivered by Raul Castro was devoted not to the relations with the United States, but rather to the strategic tasks related to Latin American and Caribbean integration. He noted that the second summit of CELAC (the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States), that took place in Havana in 2014, declared Latina America and the Caribbean a zone of peace. According to him, it was an important step on the way to reaching stability on the continent. Many other organizations, besides CELAC, pursue the goal of integration, for instance: UNASUR (the Union of South America Nations), CARICOM (the Caribbean Community), MERCOSUR (Southern Common Market), ALBA (the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America) and some others.
Upon his arrival at Panama City Maduro went to El Chorrillo Neighborhood paying a visit to a monument honoring victims of the 1989 U.S. invasion of Panama. The barbarous attack on the central headquarters of the Panamanian defense forces (La Comandancia) touched off several fires, one of which destroyed most of the adjoining and heavily populated El Chorrillo neighborhood in downtown Panama City. The intervention was explained by the need to overthrow President Manuel Noriega who had faithfully served Washington for a long time to be finally declared a dictator and a drug trafficker.
Thousands of Panamanians were killed and wounded. Their families are still waiting for the reparations to be paid by the United States. Maduro laid a wreath at the monument. He met the relatives of the dead and promised to convey their messages to Obama.
The US President missed the Maduro’s address to the summit. Maduro said he respected Obama, no matter he has committed an act of aggression against Venezuela. He called on the US leader to cancel the executive order and said he was ready to shake hands with the US counterpart. The hand shake did take place. A chat lasted a few minutes. Obama assured Maduro that the United States did not intend to intimidate Caracas. According to him, Washington supported democracy, stability and prosperity in the whole region.
Rafael Correa, the President of Ecuador, immediately explained the reason for pliability of Obama, «We will no longer tolerate interferences, interventions or unilateralisms, nor we will ever be backyard to anybody, specified the head of State during the closing ceremony of the Summit of the Peoples which sessioned in Panama in parallel to the Summit of the Americas». «We speak more of the present, the ridiculous decree of the United States to declare Venezuela a menace to its national security in the 21st Century», asserted the President. He noted that the anti-Venezuelan decree was a gross violation of international law and the Charter of the Organization of American States, «It all about elementary norms of coexistence, of respecting the own OAS Charter, that bans the interference of some over the others, unilateralism, the beginning to revere international law and the coexistence between nations».
Evo Morales, the President of Bolivia, said the United States should stop acting like an empire. The Bolivia’s leader called on Obama to leave the double standards behind and stop putting forward ultimatums and resorting to the policy of terror. Morales emphasized that the nations were changing. Latina America and the Caribbean are not what they used to be, it has become impossible to impose military dictatorships on them anymore. The region has stopped being subservient and submissive. The vibrant continent strives for self-determination. «We are no longer submissive. No longer can coups be imposed in our countries, as we are a region seeking to determine its own future … We are no longer the shadow of U.S. imperialism, as we say what we think and we do what we say. We ask that you respect our democracy and our sovereignty», he said. Morales asked the United States to stop turning the world into a battlefield. The only one who gains from wars is financial tyranny. He lambasted the US for preaching democracy at the time when America daily breached the human rights of millions on the planet. According to him, the United States was the country «that resorts to torture more than any other country», he said, questioning the human rights discourse of Washington when justifying interventionist policies against another nation.
Finally the United States and Canada blocked the declaration. It is not the first time a document is blocked. In 2005 the summit was characterized for a regional opposition against the Bush Jr. sponsored FTAA (the Free Trade Area of the Americas). Since then the summit never arrived at common agreements. The next summit of Americas is slated for 2018. It will take place in Peru.