Caracas, March 25, 2023 (OrinocoTribune.com)—The 28th Ibero-American Summit began this Saturday in Dominican Republic, with the noticeable absence of President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) of Mexico, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil, Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua, Nayib Bukele of El Salvador, as well as the presidents of Panama, Guatemala, and Peru. Many analysts attribute this to Spain’s waning influence in the region and the new multipolar international scenario where China, Russia and India position themselves as new alternatives to the imperialist and repressive approach led by the United States and the European Union.
The Ibero-American Summit initiative was launched by Spain in the 90’s as part of its “recolonization” of Latin America project, with the green light of Washington, in order to allow Spain to continue extracting resources from Latin America in a neo-colonial approach, imposing Spanish and European corporations as the “owners” of the region’s natural resources.This same corporations are still interested in the natural resources of the region, such as water, oil, and lithium.
Spain remains the main promoter and financer of the Ibero-American summits that became infamous when, at the 17th summit held in Santiago, Chile, in 2007, the King of Spain Juan Carlos shouted at Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, “Why don’t you shut up?” To which the late president of Venezuela responded that the peoples of Latin America had been forcibly shut up for a long time, but they will not longer remain silent.
Controversies and Tensions Surrounding 28th Ibero-American Summit
This year, the inaugural ceremony was attended by the King of Spain, Felipe VI, and the prime minister of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, as well as the president of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, and nine presidents from Latin America and the Caribbean.
The president of Argentina, Alberto Fernández was in attendance, as well as the presidents of Colombia, Gustavo Petro; of Cuba, Miguel Diaz Canel; of Bolivia, Luis Arce; of Chile, Gabriel Boric; of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso; of Honduras, Xiomara Castro; of Paraguay, Mario Abdo Benítez; and of Uruguay, Luis Lacalle Pou.
President Lula of Brazil rejected the invitation due to a state visit to China, which too had to be postponed due to the president’s health complications arising from pneumonia. Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro canceled at the last minute because of a false positive COVID-19 test result. The president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, was also conspicuously absent, which many analysts attributed to the recent diplomatic tensions between Mexico and Spain over the latter’s interventionism in Mexico, as well as to the lack of response from Spain to the Mexican president’s call for a public apology by the Spanish state for the genocide committed during the colonization of Latin America.
An analysis of the speeches of the right-wing or “liberal” heads of state makes it clear that they followed Washington’s script to criticize Russia for the conflict in Ukraine. In this regard, Guillermo Lasso, Gabriel Boric, Pedro Sánchez and Mario Abdo Benítez were explicit in their criticism of Russia. On the other hand, the heads of state of the progressive front who were in attendance insisted on the recognition of the new multipolar order where Russia, China, India, Turkey and South Africa are playing a new role, and also called for greater regional unity through the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and UNASUR.
Among the most noticeable speeches was that of Honduran President Xiomara Castro who highlighted the new multipolar order in contra-position to predatory imperialism, demanded respect for the right to self determination of the peoples, condemned the US-led blockades against Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, and expressed her firm rejection for neoliberal warmongering globalism.
Ibero-American Foreign Ministers Summit Approves Anti-Sanctions Declaration – Venezuela not Excluded
President Petro of Colombia made interesting remarks, including a proposal for inviting as external members African countries like the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, a hot potato for Spain that actively supports the Moroccan colonization of that country. He also spoke about the revival of the Amazon Pact to preserve the environment, and criticized the situation of Peruvian President Pedro Castillo, whom he called a political prisoner. Petro also questioned the United States’ so-called war on drugs and the exclusion of Venezuela from multilateral forums. Additionally, he stressed that countries like Colombia and Venezuela that have extensive plainlands should focus on agriculture and food production.
Cuban President Miguel Díaz Canel highlighted the importance of multipolarity and the need for a new international financial architecture that would help in the development of the countries of the Global South, and not turn them into neo-colonies through debt bondage. He also condemned the US blockade against his country and the US putting Cuba in the list of state sponsors of terrorism, and the devastating financial implications this inflicts on Cuba. The Cuban president criticized the attacks against the Cuban baseball team in Miami during the Baseball World Classic. He also emphasized his country’s support for Nicaragua and Venezuela.
Interestingly, Ecuadorian Presiden Lasso criticized lawfare tactics, which that he called a destabilizer of democracy, while his country has launched one of the fiercest lawfare attacks in the world, directed against former President Rafael Correa and his supporters in order to keep Correa out of power. Meanwhile, Gabriel Boric re-launched his attacks against the government of President Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua, but avoided mentioning his regular condemnations of Cuba and Venezuela. As for Venezuela, Boric said that he had a bilateral meeting with the Venezuelan foreign affairs minister to talk about migration issues, amid a situation where many Venezuelan migrants have denounced xenophobia in Chile.
The final declaration of the summit was not yet published at the time of writing this report, but the Venezuelan government announced that it has been able to insert a special clause against illegal sanctions. However, not many innovative issues are expected to come out from the summit.
Orinoco Tribune Special by staff
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