The Fifth Summit of the Americas _2
Summit : Bogus or Real?
Che Guevara was captured in the Bolivian jungles in October 1967. He was taken to a school; a young officer under instructions pointed a gun at him. “Don’t be afraid,” said Che. “Shoot.” The Argentinean revolutionary was executed and there began the cult, across all the Americas of Che. Caps, pins, buttons, jerseys: we are all for Che. His selflessness, idealism and courage under fire are idealized. His ideas are not doctrinaire; he fought for basic human goods for all of Latin America, the Americas, for Africa. The goods which would allow ordinary humans on the planet to live with dignity.
Enshrined in all of the declarations of the Summit of the Americas, from 1994 to 2005, are Che’s basic goods. They are all there: health, water, agrarian reform, fair trade, poverty alleviation, energy equity, education, democracy, the war against authoritarian terror. The words most mentioned in all four sets of declarations are poverty (50 times), education (52 times), health (43 times), democracy (30 times) and discrimination (19 times). Ranking along with these are old concepts with new buzz: sustainable development (48), energy security (54), the environment (45) and free trade (40).
But is the Summit about to follow the Argentinean doctor’s revolutionary agenda? Far from it. With this Summit, as with all others, we need to distinguish between the real and the unreal. The real never is not, the unreal never is.
The Summit of the Americas is the creation of the OAS, the Organization of American States. The OAS itself was created at the end of the Second World War when the spoils of victory were divided between the United States and the Soviet Union. The OAS was created - in line with the Monroe Doctrine of 1823 whereby the US sought to shepherd the sheep of the Americas from the wolf of Europe - to shepherd the Americas from the wolf of Communism. It proved to be the diplomatic wing of US war, the CIA, US trained para-military and military organizations in the Americas. The war against the Soviets was fought, not only in Korea, Vietnam, Africa, Cambodia, but in Central, South America and the Caribbean. The OAS proved to be the diplomatic handmaiden of Washington’s war in the Americas. The reality is that it was not a Cold War; it was hot: over ten million citizens of the Americas died, disappeared or were tortured in it.
In the early 1990’s the US claimed victory over the Soviets. The Cold War, they claimed, had ended. They would push into the world abandoned by the communists and invade it. They would capture it not with guns, or gunboat diplomacy, but with markets. This agenda has been described as the neo-Liberal agenda. Washington caused the OAS to form the Summit of the Americas. This Summit would be the fraternity that would win the market of over 800 million consumers in the Americas. The specific instrument to be used was FTAA, the Free Trade of the Americas.
Here is the FTAA ideology outlined in the first Summit in Miami in 1994:
“A key to prosperity is trade without barriers, without subsidies, without unfair practices, and with an increasing stream of productive investments. Eliminating impediments to market access for goods and services among our countries will foster our economic growth.
We, therefore, resolve to begin immediately to construct the "Free Trade Area of the Americas" (FTAA), in which barriers to trade and investment will be progressively eliminated. We further resolve to conclude the negotiation of the ‘Free Trade Area of the Americas’ no later than 2005, and agree that concrete progress toward the attainment of this objective will be made by the end of this century.”
This is the world of the unreal: the mirrors, beads, buttons for the ancestral natives. In reality, the US economy would be trading with a mighty capacity – millions of acres of flat rolling plains, a powerful financial, banking, industrial, military and media superstructure. Most of the other countries, with few exceptions such as Argentina, Brazil and Canada, would be trading with a bow and arrow economic infrastructure. History was repeating itself. Economic cannons and machine-guns against blowpipes and guava-wood slingshots.
Fire and brimstone raged outside the walls of the Summits of Miami 1994; Santiago 1998; Canada 2001; and Argentina 2005. Trade Unionists, heads of states, activists, students, environmentalists and ordinary citizens gathered and protested with incisive articulation and rage. Parallel ‘People’s Summits’ were held. These were the wise ones, the real ones, seeing the reality behind the illusion of the Summit agenda. The real quest was, for Washington, market access; the real concerns of the Americas - education, health, poverty, real fair trade, real democracy, real development, real sustainability, real food and energy security - were thrown in for persuasion, for effect, as a mask.
Now, the FTAA, in the Draft Port of Spain Declaration of April 2009, appears to have vanished. There is no mention of it.
Evo Morales has become the President of Bolivia. There he is launching a real campaign against illiteracy, land alienation, poverty, political inequity, discrimination, inspired by the hopes of millions of indigenous citizens of the Americas, by the ideals of Che. Let us see if he, if he attends, and other leaders of the Americas, who are pursuing similar ideals, will prevail over Washington’s imperial agenda, led by Obama.
Dr. Wayne Kublalsingh
(Used with his permission)