Latin American & Caribbean Leaders Condemn US For Excluding Nations From Summit of the Americas
03:22 GMT 28.05.2022 (Updated: 03:33 GMT 28.05.2022)
© AFP 2023 / MARCELO GARCIAHandout picture released by the Venezuelan presidency showing Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, speaking during the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of America (ALBA) Summit at the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, on June 24, 2021.
© AFP 2023 / MARCELO GARCIA
At the ALBA-TCP conference, eight heads of state and high-ranking representatives urged greater cooperation within the Latin American and Caribbean community, and spoke out on behalf of the three countries shut out from the upcoming Summit of the Americas by the US government.
Latin American leaders participating in the 21st summit of ALBA-TCP (Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America – Peoples' Trade Treaty) celebrated a growing regional unity and denounced the US for excluding leftist governments from the upcoming Summit of the Americas in a two-hour session which took place in Havana Friday.
ALBA-TCP is one of several regional bodies which many Latin nations are gravitating towards amid what speakers at Friday’s event repeatedly denounced as the “exclusionary” policies of the US, which is hosting next month’s Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles. As a result of the exclusions, over a dozen Latin American and Caribbean countries are considering skipping the event.
On Thursday, the US State Department’s Coordinator for the Summit of Americas, Kevin O’Reilly, reportedly told journalists the Venezuelan government was “absolutely not” invited. As to the question of whether Nicaragua could attend, according to Reuters, O’Reilly responded “with a terse “No.””
26 May 2022, 14:45 GMT
Such responses were undoubtedly fresh in the minds of the heads of state of Nicaragua and Venezuela as they delivered impassioned and lengthy addresses harshly criticizing the US.
“There’s no need to call it the summit of the Americas,” explained Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega. “It’s the summit of the empire.”
“The empire thinks that there’s still space for this type of summit, where the empire summons the countries of its backyard, subjects them to the Monroe Doctrine,” Ortega continued. “Why does it summon them? To give them orders.”
“They [the US] think this is the moment to establish the total hegemony of Yankee imperialism over the whole planet. Now we’re not just talking about applying the Monroe Doctrine over” Latin America. “What we’re talking about is converting the whole planet into the backyard of North American potencia. “
Referencing the US’ stated intention of ‘weakening’ Russia, Ortega went on to link US efforts to control access to the upcoming Summit of Americas to broader US foreign policy.
“They want to subjugate the Russian Federation. They want to subjugate the PRC… [they’re] thinking that the moment came for them to dominate the whole planet. And they haven’t realized that that’s no longer possible.”
“In their craziness, we see that the US President and European leaders have turned into a bunch of Rambos. They’re giving away bullets here, bullets there, guns here, guns there, imposing sanctions here, sanctions there… They’re destroying their own countries. They’re destroying their own economies. They’re destroying the lives of their own people, and threatening the entirety of humanity.”
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro took a similarly defiant tone towards American efforts “to exclude from that meeting in Los Angeles–which calls itself the 'Summit of the Americas'–the peoples of Nicaragua, Cuba, and Venezuela.” But Maduro largely seemed to emphasize the “enormous power” demonstrated by the burgeoning cooperation between Latin American and Caribbean nations, which, he said, is shown by the probable boycott of the Los Angeles summit.
“We have seen solid and courageous voices, such as that of the president of Honduras, Xiomara Castro, that of our beloved president of Bolivia present here, [Luis] Arce, and that of governments from all over the continent, who… have been forceful and clear in condemning the exclusion of Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua,” Maduro noted.
“And that should fill us with joy. It has been worth the entire struggle of several generations of Latin American and Caribbean people to raise the flag of dignity… New and better times are coming for us. New and better times are coming for the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean… Because our continent is respected. Because our people are respected.”
The theme of Latin American and Caribbean cooperation was a frequent one among the day’s speakers. Heads of state including Bolivia’s Luis Arce, Dominican Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, and Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel all praised the efforts to bring together the region’s countries during the 21st ALBA summit.
But Dominica’s Skerrit noted that despite the emerging harmony among many of the region’s players, “we are seeing a reversal of the advances we have made in the hemisphere… because of the attitude of Western powers and of course the United States.” Denouncing the exclusion of Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba as “completely unacceptable,” Skerrit went on to question why the Organization of American States, the group which largely sponsors and organizes the Summit of the Americas, wasn’t in charge of the invitations:
“We are part of an organization–or so I thought–and so it is for them to decide who can go or not,” rather than the US.
Cuba’s Diaz-Canel, who served as the Master of Ceremonies, opened and closed the event. After denouncing the “hegemonic and anti-democratic practices” of the US and calling for a change in “hemispheric relations” away from the US-led order, Diaz-Canel offered a fitting summary:
“Our America changed. Exclusions are no longer possible, the decision not to invite everyone is a historical setback. And all countries must be invited, on an equal footing. It is disrespectful and harmful to the sovereignty of nations, trying to decide from the privileged condition of host, who is represented. In the face of attempts at exclusion and selectivity, it is urgent to strengthen the authentic mechanisms of Latin American and Caribbean integration and coordination. United we will be able to effectively defend our sovereignty and self-determination without interference or external pressure.”