The second summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) January 28-29 aroused great interest, first and foremost because this organization of Western Hemisphere countries does not include the U.S. or Canada. The Community was created after multiple attempts by countries in the region to democratize the Organization of American States (OAS), which is under the strict control of the U.S. and has more than once been used for repressive purposes against regimes undesirable to Washington.
Attempts by the Bush and Obama administrations to use the OAS to «finish off the Castro regime», «neutralize» Hugo Chavez, etc. totally compromised this previously reliable tool of the Empire.
It was Chavez who in the last years of his life worked on reforming regional organizations and creating counterweights to the United States in the Western Hemisphere.
In accomplishing this complex task he was assisted by Argentinian leader Nestor Kirchner, Brazil’s Inacio Lula da Silva, Ecuador’s Rafael Correa, Bolivia’s Evo Morales and other statesmen of Latin America.
The first CELAC forum, in which 33 countries participated, took place in Caracas in December 2011, and Chavez, in a speech at its opening, plainly declared that this political alliance was being created in order to «become the most influential center of power in the 21st century». He was supported by many presidents. Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega spoke the most decisively, stating that the existence of CELAC is «the death sentence for the Monroe Doctrine».
The State Department declared its position with regard to CELAC in 2011 as well, stating that it would continue «to work through the OAS as the preeminent multilateral organization speaking for the hemisphere». Washington is trying not to permit the formation of competing centers of power in the region. It is using all the means at its disposal and focusing on the tried and true strategy of «divide and conquer».
There is a «fifth column» of conservative presidents who serve the interests of the oligarchs and monopolies and, keeping their own personal interests in mind, follow in the wake of Washington. When needed, these U.S. allies can be used to block any decision of CELAC, considering the principle of unanimity set down in the founding documents.
Raul Castro, president of the Council of State and the Council of Ministers of Cuba, became the president of CELAC in 2013. When taking the reins from his predecessor, Chile’s Sebastian Pinera, Castro stated that he would work for the good of peace, justice, development and mutual understanding between all the peoples of the Latin American continent. «We will act in full accordance with the norms of international law, the Charter of the UN and the basic principles of interstate relations», said Castro. The Cubans have worked fruitfully to prepare around thirty documents for the summit in Havana.
Of great significance for the strengthening of CELAC’s authority is a declaration affirming that Latin America and the Caribbean Basin remain a zone free from nuclear weapons. This document was adopted in addition to the Treaty of Tlatelolco (1967), which prohibited nuclear weapons in the region.
This is because the treaty was being systematically violated by the United States and England, whose atomic submarines would anchor off the coast of the continent fully armed. Information that nuclear warheads are being stockpiled at the English military base at Mount Pleasant on the Maldives, with the agreement of the Pentagon, is also troubling.
The 70 U.S. military bases located in the region are a threat to peace as well. Some of them are functioning at full capacity (for example, in Colombia and Honduras), while others have been set aside for the future. The base at Guantanamo, Cuba has long ago become a symbol of the «fascisization» of the United States.
The prisoners there, who are being held without due process, are subjected to physical and psychological torture. Many have urged the Obama administration to stop this inhuman practice, but as always, there has been no reaction.
It was confirmed at the summit that controversies and conflicts between CELAC member countries would be resolved through negotiations in order to be permanently rid of the use of force in regions where there are old territorial disputes.
There were also discussions, traditional for Latin American conventions, of such topics as fighting hunger, poverty, social inequality and drug trafficking. Here there have been positive changes, first of all in the countries of ALBA, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America.
Solidarity with Cuba and the condemnation of the U.S. economic blockade is another constant topic of Latin American forums. This fundamental position is also set down in the documents of the summit. Several speeches condemned U.S. mass espionage, especially by the NSA. Surveillance was (and is) being conducted of all the countries of the region without exception.
Even such seemingly trusted allies as Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala and Costa Rica are under the magnifying glass of U.S. intelligence. The necessity of creating an electronic communications system which is well-protected from outside intrusion and a «Latin American Internet» was spoken of in particular by Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa.
The creation of a China-CELAC forum was approved. The topic of China at the summit testifies to the great success of China’s financial and economic penetration into the region. The scale of Beijing’s work toward undermining U.S. dominance in the Western Hemisphere is stunning. Practically all of the countries on the continent, from Belize to Uruguay and from Mexico to Chile, have thrown open their doors to Chinese capital.
More and more frequently the opinion is heard that the U.S. is a colossus with feet of clay. Therefore the stake of both «right» and «left» Latin American governments on China is justified. The Latin Americans are deftly making use of the geopolitical confrontation between the old (decrepit) and new superpowers for their own interests.
The discussion at the summit of the possibility of granting Puerto Rico full membership in CELAC also has negative implications for the U.S. This is practically a declaration of the need to grant Puerto Rico independence. Its semi-colonial status as a «free associated state» is a holdover from the past.
Patriotic forces in Puerto Rico have been resisting imperial dictates for decades. The support of CELAC gives them additional opportunities to debunk manipulations in the propaganda war trying to prove that the citizens of Puerto Rico «en masse» are in favor of turning their country into yet another U.S. state.
The Obama administration organized a counter-summit in Miami using ultra-right activists in order to distract attention from what is going on at the Havana forum. The initiators of the event were the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the Center for the Opening and Development of Latin America (CADAL), organizations created by the CIA for conducting subversive operations.
In this particular case, people who have long ago been revealed to be terrorists and paid agents of U.S. intelligence are doing the Empire’s dirty work, attacking Cuba and Latin American «populists». Among them is Carlos Alberto Montaner, who calls himself a «publicist». His career as a «bombista» began in the first years of the Cuban revolution.
Many people in movie theaters and shopping centers in Havana have died by his hand. Ramon Saul Sanchez is no different; he is a former member of the terrorist group Omega 7 who organized a bombing at the Cuban consulate in Montreal and threw explosives into the car of the Cuban Ambassador to the UN. Julio Rodriguez Salas, a former Venezuelan military officer and an agent of U.S. military intelligence, can boast of similar feats; he participated in the plot to overthrow Chavez in April 2002.
At the forum in Miami they discussed the strategy of «promoting democracy on the continent». Among the speakers were representatives of a number of Latin America NGOs which answer to the CIA. Their speeches on the «right to uprising» stood out. The key assertion of this topic is this: if a country has a tyrannical government, the people have a right to overthrow it.
The speakers explicitly mentioned governments «undesirable» to the United States – in Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, etc. However, these and other attempts by Washington to cause conflict among Summit participants did not meet with support in the countries of the region. Nor was it able to «mobilize» the small dissident groups which the CIA station acting under the cover of the U.S. Interests Section has been able to scrape together to hold any loud «protests».
Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez put it well when he stated that his country’s «return» to Latin America was complete, and as for Washington’s strategy for isolating Cuba in the Western Hemisphere, now it is U.S. policy that is in isolation. «If the U.S. wishes to establish normal, more productive, trusting and democratic relations with Latin America and the Caribbean countries», stated Rodriguez, «it must change its policy in the region.»
To do this, the U.S. must «support normal relations with them based on respect for their sovereignty on the foundation of equality». Latin America must be seen by Washington as an equal partner and not the «backyard» of the U.S.
The second CELAC summit was able to achieve consolidation of the positions of member countries on many issues. The strategic goal is the integration of Latin American states. CELAC has appeared on the international arena as the only «authorized representative» of Latin American and Caribbean countries.
The United States will have to gradually get over its complex of superiority in the Western Hemisphere; otherwise the Latin Americans will someday turn the territory north of the Rio Grande into their «backyard»…
Nil NIKANDROV | Strategic Culture Foundation