By Sergio Rodriguez Gelfenstein *
The framework on which the United States has been built upon is sustained by the idea of being a people chosen by God. A close look at the speeches of all its presidents shows the presence and continuity of this concept in all of them, although they have been careful to adapt it to each historical moment.
Influential American far-right political analyst Patrick J. Buchanan cites his colleague Charles Krauthammer in an article published for a small book entitled “The Purpose of the United States of America” in 1991. But the text is particularly relevant in the current conjuncture, as it says that the “desire and work of the United States should be to “integrate” with Europe and Japan within a “super-sovereign” entity that is “economically, culturally, and politically hegemonic in the world,” adding that “this new universalism […] would require the conscious depreciation not only of American sovereignty but also of the notion of sovereignty in general. This is not as heinous as it seems.”
This is what the United States has recently begun to call the “international community” and what Russia has called “the community of 11% of the planet.” According to Washington, all those who are not included in that community simply do not exist, an idea which is accepted in the most reactionary circles in the United States and Europe.
They believe it to be the “America of the United States”
In the case of Latin America and the Caribbean, this is particularly aberrational to the point that it seems that sometimes in Washington, they confuse the very name of their country. In an exercise in organic dyslexia, they believe that instead of being the United States of America, they are actually “America of the United States.”
Since 1823, when the Monroe Doctrine was declared, which stated that America should belong to the Americans, a reference was being made to a geographical context made up of a variety of countries. But the name was reserved for the United States, which since then has called itself “America”. Bolívar was right when he pointed out very early that, relying on a divine reason, the United States was going to be a plague for the region.
As Professor Demetrio Böersner points out in his well-known work “History of International Relations in Latin America”, from the beginning of the imperialist phase of the United States in the penultimate decade of the 19th century, Washington set out to have an himself the goal of active participation in Latin American political affairs and assumed in a decided way the role of a referee in American international affairs. In such a way that the aspirations to set the guidelines for the behavior of Latin American countries is in the DNA of the imperialist nation of North America.
New manifestation of American hegemony: Exclus,on of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua
The American hegemonic imprint has manifested itself again, now in the call for the 9th. Summit of the Americas to be held in Los Angeles, California, in which the US president has decided to exclude Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela – countries that are not subordinate to Washington’s rulings. However, to the surprise of the White House, a series of nations have expressed their repudiation and rejection of such a decision.
For different reasons, several Latin American and Caribbean leaders will not be present at the event during the month of June. Although that does not necessarily mean that there is no representation from those countries, the mere fact that it is a Summit to which a lower-level official is sent is a disdain for the president of the United States who has convened the event.
The Summits of the Americas are meetings through which the United States set out to convene and unify the entire region when the Soviet Union disappeared. “History was over” and capitalism would be sown throughout the earth forever. In the case of Latin America, those were times when the most reactionary sector of US politics had produced the Santa Fe documents in which, among other things, they called for the Latin American armies to disappear, because the United States was going to take charge of the defense mainland while local governments should only be responsible for internal security.
In fact, these Summits originated as a regional expression of the unipolar world that was intended to be built. In practice, from the outset, they planned to implement a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) , which should have entered into force in January 2005 , without being able to achieve it as it was repudiated by a large part of the American states.
At the Third Summit held in April 2001 in Canada, the creation of this Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) under the hegemony of the United States had been proposed and approved: that is its great strategic proposal for the region. But at the IV Summit, held in Argentina, under the leadership of Commander Hugo Chávez and with the support of Presidents Lula da Silva, Néstor Kirchner and others, that project was rejected. The United States keeps trying: its goal is to control the region politically in order to – in this way – control it economically. To the extent that there have been governments that resist the design, this objective has not been fulfilled.
Cuba had always been excluded until it was invited for the first time in the 7th. Edition held in Panama in 2015. During the administration of President Obama there were undoubted attempts to bring the United States closer to Latin America, but in the 8th. Summit held in Peru, Venezuela was ruled out.
14 countries small in territory but immense in dignity
So the United States has always assumed the right to decide who attends and who does not. This is what the President of Mexico Andrés Manuel López Obrador is challenging, who has been seconded by the President of Honduras Xiomara Castro and the Bolivian President Luis Arce. Likewise, the Caricom countries (14 in total) that have distinguished friendly relations with Cuba and Venezuela, have also said that they will not attend if all the countries are not invited. That 14 countries, small in territory but immense in dignity, dare to reject the decision of the United States, is a very important sign of the new times.
For different reasons, Brazil and Guatemala have said they will not attend the event either. In the case of Brazil, Presidents Bolsonaro and Biden have never had good relations. Bolsonaro openly supported PresidentTrump for his re-election and Biden has never wanted to receive him, in addition to strongly attacking him for the ecological mismanagement of the Amazon.
For his part, Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei has said that he will not go to Los Angeles in response to the criticism that the United States has made of his decision to re-elect Attorney General Consuelo Porras, who is accused of her lack of commitment in the fight against the corruption. Giammattei said that even if he was invited, he would not attend.
A possible catasptrophe for Biden
Beyond this or that reason, these demonstrations show a change in the political scene in the region in the face of what could be a catastrophe of transcendental dimensions for the United States and for President Biden. In a broader perspective, it should be said that these events must also be understood in a different global dynamic that occurs at a time when China reaffirms its world leadership from a different perspective and Russia plays a relevant role in the propagation of the necessary earthquake to produce changes in the stagnant, unfair and ineffective international structure. Likewise, other nations of the planet assume a leading role in different regions and sectors of the economy, which is manifested in the certain possibility of an expansion of the BRICS group as an expression of the assembly of a new management and conduct of global affairs that seem to advance towards an effective multipolarity.
The rejection of US arrogance expresses that in Latin America and the Caribbean, there is a different spirit that points to the need for structural transformation of the international system, which has become possible in the context of the decline of US hegemony.
Given the evident crisis situation, Biden appointed former senator from the liberal sector of the Democratic Party, Christopher Dodd, as his personal liaison with Latin America and the Caribbean for the Summit. He also sent his own wife, Jill, on a tour to some countries in the region to ensure their presence in Los Angeles.
All this manifests a certain destructuring of the bureaucratic system of power in the United States, Biden appeals to a new diplomacy, in which “personal links”, the director of the CIA, parliamentarians, and even his wife, have more relevance than the Department of Defense itself. State, which has been generating a natural discomfort in career diplomats who are overwhelmed and overwhelmed by the presidential imprint. Even the OAS itself, previously an imperial instrument of the United States in the region, has been relegated to the background.
Parameters of Monroe Doctrine and Manifest Destiny are eroding
In this context, we could be witnessing the end of an all-encompassing hegemony of the United States in the region. Without wanting to wield ideal situations that the current correlation of forces does not allow us to affirm, it is undeniable that the parameters established in the Monroe Doctrine and Manifest Destiny are beginning to be corroded by the independence drive of the peoples, as happened at the beginning of the century XIX. Thus, it could happen that the Los Angeles Summit becomes a victory as important as the one that occurred in 2005 in Argentina, leading to a resounding defeat as for the United States.
Like Sandino in Las Segovias, the Cuban people in Playa Girón, the No alca in Mar del Plata, Los Angeles could become a new defeat of imperialism in America, this time in the very bowels of the monster as pointed out by the Apostle José Martí.
* Sergio Rodríguez Gelfenstein is a Venezuelan international relations expert, who was previously Director of the International Relations of the Presidency of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, his country’s ambassador to Nicaragua and an advisor for international politics for TELESUR. Gelfenstein has written numerous books, among them “China in the XXI Century – the awakening of a giant” which has been published in several Latin American countries. You can follow him on Twitter: @sergioro0701