The much-vaunted Summit of the Americas 2022, in Los Angeles, California, is currently taking place at a moment when United States prestige and leadership in the world is reaching an all-time low. The event, sponsored by the U.S. State Department, is strictly limited to countries and leaders in North and South America who have proven their fealty to the American Empire, meaning that socialist Cuba, Sandinista Nicaragua and Chavista Venezuela have all been very specifically “dis-invited” from the festivities. In reaction, leaders of Mexico (normally a reliable ally of the United States), Honduras, Guatemala and Bolivia have all announced that they are boycotting the shameful event. According to the leftist Monthly Review website, “This means heads of state representing Latin American countries with a total population of more than 200 million people–a significant percentage of the Americas–refused to attend.” According to Monthly Review, for this reason alone, the Summit has already “failed” even before it began. Along the same line, Bolivian ex-president Evo Morales recently commented that “The current version of the so-called ‘Summit of the Americas’ was born dead, due to the absence of several of our brother Presidents who reject the arbitrary and unilateral exclusion of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua on the part of the United States. Instead of promoting unity, Biden is provoking division.”
According to the leftist U.S. website Portside, “Cuba was present at the last two Summits of the Americas, in Panama and Peru. In Panama in 2015, then-President Obama famously shook hands with then-President Raul Castro, the first such contact between the Cold War enemies in decades. Months later, Washington and Havana opened diplomatic ties and began a warming of trade and travel relations not seen for half a century. The opening was frozen by President Trump and has only haltingly and in minor ways been renewed by Biden, despite his promises as a presidential candidate.”
What business is the 2022 Summit supposed to conduct? In fact, the agenda of the event has not been released to the public. Judging from past Summits (the history of the event goes back almost 30 years, to 1994), nothing of particular significance will be accomplished, and even less without the presence of leaders of key Latin American countries. Nonetheless, according to the CNS news service, the purpose of the Summit is announced as " ‘Building a Sustainable, Resilient and Equitable Future’ in the Americas.” By comparison, CNS reports that “During the most recent summit -- which was in Peru in 2018 -- the region's leaders committed to fighting corruption,” surely a noble goal, but one that isactually beingrealized in the Americas only by socialist Cuba, plus in leftward-looking countries like Nicaragua, Venezuela and Bolivia who are fighting hard against deeply rooted, thoroughly corrupt traditions left by centuries of colonial and neocolonial domination and dictatorship.
So why go on with this circus? One reason is to encourage the continuing loyalty of lackey sectors in the participating countries. Another is to provide precisely a circus, or more specifically a kind of Hemispheric Fair highlighting the rewards and glories of faithfully serving the Empire. The event will be accompanied by a “CEO Summit,” correctly reminding the world of the primary intended audience of the whole affair, plus a “Youth Summit,” offering encouragement and lessons in imperial loyalty to the sons and daughters of the ruling classes of the hemisphere.
A convention for the leaders, bosses and exploiters of an entire hemisphere cannot be a small thing, and in fact the whole five-day farce will cost many millions of dollars. According to an online report by Los Angeles’ ABC-7 TV, the Los Angeles police have estimated that the entire five-day event will cost an extra US$15.5 million for security alone, and will thoroughly disrupt traffic patterns and public transportation for the twelve and a half million people who live in Los Angeles. Security expenses will, of course,include the cost ofevicting hundreds of street-sleepers and homeless people (a population estimated to number well over sixty-six thousand in the county of Los Angeles alone) from the area around the Civic Center, where the Summit is being held.
So far, national and international reactions to the Summit non-event could best be described as “under-whelming.” People’s World, the Communist Party USA’s official online organ, has not even felt it necessary to dignify the event with a comment. According to the Spanish-language leftist website ManifiestoRevolucionario, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has responded to the Summit by asking his Argentine colleague, President Alberto Fernandez, to organize a counter-summit of western hemisphere nations under the banner of CELAM (the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States), a non-exclusionary meeting to which even U.S. President Joe Biden would be invited.
Maduro noted that “This would be one way to open a new road, as [Mexican] President López Obrador has suggested just today. It would be in response to feedback offered over recent weeks regarding the urgent need for a new international organization in which every country of the Americas, our América, can participate without exception.”
According to Los Angeles Times reporters Tracy Wilkinson and Celia Sanchez, “López Obrador, a leftist populist who himself has started displaying certain authoritarian tendencies, also suggested the summit be used to find a replacement for the Organization of American States, the largest regional body that some see as being pro-United States. He proposed a new body that represents all countries equally and is not an ‘appendage’ of the great powers.” The reporters added that “López Obrador, who generally shuns international conferences, said in his remarks … that he wasn’t trying to be ‘confrontational’.”
Cuban President Miguel Diaz Canel suggested that much greater importance should be given to an opposition Summit of the Peoples, which would be “the truly important political event, where the interests of the people of Latin America and the Caribbean will be the principal agenda.”
Attendees to the Summit event who take time to tune into American media during their visit to Los Angeles may find a much uglier side to the United States than the polished White House presentations wish to put forth. As the Summit meets, the last of the nineteen children who were recently murdered by a mass shooter in Uvalde, Texas are being buried. At the same time, Congressional hearings are being broadcast live daily on all of the major TV networks (except the ultra-right Fox network), investigating the January 6, 2021 insurrection in Washington, a moment thatvery many political expertsare now describing as a failed coup d’etat. And, weather forecasts are warning of excessive, record heat in the desert areas of California and across the American Southwest, thanks to uncontrolled climate change.