With the exclusion of some countries from the 9th Summit of the Americas, the demise of US global hegemony is advancing slowly, but steadily.
A few hours before the inauguration of the 9th Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, California, the Biden administration had not yet been able to publish its guest list for the event.
This is the second time the US is hosting the Summit, the first time was the first Summit held in Miami back in 1994. The objectives proposed for this ninth edition of the Summit are to focus on the creation of a regional agreement on migration and the formulation of a post COVID-19 economic recovery strategy.
However, according to an analysis published by Xinhua, the main concern in this edition of the Summit will not be the usual lack of consensus in the region but, rather, the absence of several regional leaders who will not participate.
Controversy broke out when the US unilaterally announced, back in May, that it would not invite Cuba, Nicaragua or Venezuela to the Summit of the Americas, because it did not consider these countries as democratic. This was an arbitrary decision that generated an unexpected rejection from most of the Latin American and Caribbean nations.
In response to this announcement, the President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, declared that he would attend the Summit only if all the countries of the region were invited. López Obrador stated, “We cannot go on maintaining the same policy of two centuries ago on the American Continent.”
The heads of state of Bolivia, Guatemala, Honduras and several member countries of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) also publicly announced that they would not attend the Summit of the Americas if some countries were excluded from the event.
The President of Argentina, Alberto Fernández, who currently holds the presidency of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), made public CELAC’s rejection of such an exclusionary measure by Washington.
Such an outcome has exposed the irreconcilable discrepancies that exist between the United States and Latin America and the Caribbean. The US has always tried to impose the rules of the game according to its own parameters, and the countries of Latin American and Caribbean are trying to eradicate the infamous Monroe Doctrine, which is characterized by interventionism and the hegemony which Washington has exercised over its southern neighbors for almost two centuries.
Washington, in its expansionist zeal, in the mid-19th century, took advantage of Mexico’s weaknesses and annexed half of its territory, amounting to more than 2 million square kilometers.
At the beginning of the 20th century, US military aggression became increasingly frequent in Latin America, first in Haiti in 1915 with a military incursion [and] all the way to orchestrating a coup d’état against the then President of Guatemala, Jacobo Arbenz, in 1954. The US has invaded and attacked Cuba, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Chile, Argentina, Granada, Nicaragua, Panama, and Grenada, just to name a few.
In a February 2022 speech given before the US Senate, Democrat Senator Bernie Sanders acknowledged that his country had undermined or subverted the governments of at least a dozen countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Moreover, US extractivist capital has ruthlessly plundered the riches of the region, turning Central America and the Caribbean into “banana republics,” which signifies the creation of countries with corrupt and unstable governments, countries dependent on a single resource with low added value, such as bananas, oil, sugar or coffee, operated by US companies that supplied cheap goods to the United States under a monopoly regime.
When the debt crisis broke out in Latin American countries in 1980, the United States promulgated its neoliberal recipes and managed to impose the so-called Washington Consensus, which resulted in several financial crises and a “lost decade” for the region.
In the 1990s, the Latin American countries that had adopted the ideology of the Washington Consensus saw their economic growth reduced by an average of 50% compared to the previous ten years. In addition, extensive privatization widened the gap between rich and poor, concentrating almost all the wealth of the countries in the hands of few people. This brought about enormous social instability.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the US hoarded a quarter of the world’s vaccines, but refused to share any of it with its southern neighbors. When Mexico requested a vaccine “loan” from the US in March 2021, with the promise of returning them a few months later upon receiving the doses it had bought in advance, the US response was a resounding “no.”
In May of that same year, while half of the US population had already received two COVID-19 vaccine doses, only 3% of the total population of Latin America and the Caribbean had received their complete vaccination schedule. This is just another clear example of the “America First” policy.
With this historical background and with growing contempt for the US, Latin American and Caribbean countries have decided to promote their regional integration to increase their autonomy and find wiggle room away from Washington’s influence.
CELAC was created in 2011 to encompass the 33 countries of the American continent, with the exception of the United States and Canada. CELAC functions to counteract US hegemony over the region.
Although the decline of US hegemony will not be a quick process, the current boycott of the 9th Summit of the Americas will likely serve to create a consensus in the region that will insist not a single country should be denied a “seat at the table” by the US, simply because it disagrees with its government.
This is, therefore, another nail in the coffin of the Monroe Doctrine. A burial that is progressing slowly but steadily.
Translation: Orinoco Tribune