The Fifth Summit of the Americas _3
Democracy: Summit Style
For the architects of the Summit of the Americas there is no God but the God of Democracy. All five sets of Summit declarations, between 1994 and 2005, affirm Democracy as it core principle. The first Summit in Miami, dead in line with the 1948 Charter of the OAS, the founding body of the Summit, declares:
“The Charter of the OAS establishes that representative democracy is indispensable for the stability, peace and development of the region. It is the sole political system which guarantees respect for human rights and the rule of law... Democracy is based, among other fundamentals, on free and transparent elections and includes the right of all citizens to participate in government. Democracy and development reinforce one another.”
Democracy is the most ital and noblest of ideals, but like coffee, or bananas, or oil there are many grades, many varieties. The question is, what grade and variety of Democracy do the OAS, and its creation, the Summit of the Americas, really stand for?
The case of Cuba will provide an answer.
Cuba was expelled from in OAS in 1964. This was done following months of a propaganda war against Cuba, conducted by the CIA, the OAS, and Washington. This is documented in the book Inside the Company: CIA Diary by Philip Agee a CIA spy operational in the Americas between the late 1950’s and the 1970’s. Writing in his diary on June 28th 1964, he states:
“The campaign for isolating Cuba is another step closer to success. The OAS announced that sufficient votes have been obtained for a Conference of Foreign Ministers to consider the arms cache case and the Venezuelan motion that all OAS members still having relations with Cuba break them. . . Propaganda against Cuba continues through the AVBUZZ media project. Among the many current placements are those of the canned propaganda operation, Editors Press Service which is based in New York and turns out quantities of articles against the Castro government …”
And so, Cuba lost its voice in the OAS: it could not participate in economic activities of the Inter-American bank, the Alliance for Progress, the Inter-American System, organisations which provided funding and development assistance to members. The CIA and the OAS worked actively to alienate Cuba from other nations in the Americas. On July 25th 1964 Agee wrote in his diary:
“News is in that the OAS passed the motion that all members should break diplomatic and commercial relations with Cuba … there should be no air or maritime traffic. It took four years to get this motion passed – not only CIA operations but all our Latin American foreign policy has been pointing to this goal … headquarters’ propaganda guidance is certain to call for an all-out campaign to force compliance with the motion.”
This example illustrates how seriously the OAS and the Summit regard the principle of Democracy. Not only was Cuba expelled but development aid was cut off, propaganda was increased against her and other nations of the Americas were forced to terminate communications with her.
For her part, Cuba asserted that the architect of the OAS itself, Washington, was not Democratic, but Imperialist. It practiced global autocracy on a deep, perpetual and genocidal scale. It spied on other nations, subverted progressive governments, flouted international law and launched wars and assassination campaigns. It was US subterfuge which killed the democratically elected leaders of Chile and Guatemala, Salvador Allende and Jacobo Arbenz Guzman, replacing them with military dictators.
In 1970, own Prime Minister, Dr Eric Williams, at the Opening of the Inter-American and Social Council, asked for Cuba’s re-entry into the OAS. He declared:
“May I remind you … that our distinguished Secretary General has recently included Cuba in his New Year message to the countries of the hemisphere; that in the 1970s we should have learned the lesson that economic boycott is not the most realistic nor indeed the most productive attitude to be adopted with a country whose economic and social system we do not share… within the family of nations of the hemisphere, reconciliation with the estranged is the ineluctable choice, rather than ostracism.” Our Prime Minister, trained in Political Economy, was batting, square-on and facing the bowler like Chanderpaul, for Cuba.
Our Foreign Minister Paula Gopie-Scoon, when asked last month about Cuba’s re-entry, declared: “It is too soon. Not yet.” What does she mean by this?
Does she agree with the Summit that Cuba’s variety of single-party Representative Democracy is not real?
Does she believe that the Democracy of Imperialism practiced by the ideological rulers of the Summit, the US, is real Democracy?
Does she believe, as the Summit Declaration assumes, that only Western-styled Liberal Democracy guarantees real development?
Does she believe that her own government practices real Democracy in Trinidad and Tobago?
Or is she simply mouthing an OAS, CIA, Washington position without awareness?
Fortunately, in the church of the Summit of the Americas some congregants are more holy than the clergy. Over the last year the presidents of Peru, Brazil, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Argentina and Nicaragua have visited Cuba to hold their personal summits with the excommunicated Fidel Castro. At this time, the President of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, is in Cuba on a state visit. It will be up to these leaders, and others, to ensure that the Summit does not use the noble ideal Democracy as a whip to punish those whose political economy we dislike.
Dr. Wayne Kublalsingh
(Used with his permission)