Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden welcome Barbados PM Mia Mottley during the Summit of the Americas, in Los Angeles, California, June 8, 2022. (Photo: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)
The U.S. excluded Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela from the recent Summit of the Americas held in Los Angeles. While there was widespread condemnation against the U.S., only six heads of state had the courage to decline the invitation. An opportunity to strike a blow against U.S. imperialism was lost.
And so it was that another historical opportunity was missed by the countries of the Caribbean, Central and South America, with the exception of a few who had the courage to take a stand. The majority of leaders from the region, those who Maurice Bishop so aptly called “yard fowls”, and those who should have known better, traipsed up to Los Angeles for the Summit of the Americas held on June 5 – 10th, 2022, despite the fact that Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua were excluded.
On May 5th, Telesur reported that “CARICOM will not attend Summit of the Americas with exclusions”. In the same report, Antigua and Barbuda’s ambassador to the US, Ronald Sanders, was quoted as saying, “The Summit of the Americas is not a meeting of the United States, and it cannot decide who is invited and who is not.”
Unfortunately, behind the scenes there was much wrangling to steer CARICOM off course and ensure that they towed the Master’s line. Some did not even bother to explain their complicity, while others sought to excuse their attendance, claiming that they would use the platform to denounce the US position. However, the exclusion of three nations, and the boycotting of the Summit by six others, rendered the Summit even more ineffectual than previous Summits, and a diplomatic disaster for the Imperial hegemon. Former president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, rightly called the Summit a “stillborn” event, stating that "The latest version of the misnamed Summit of the Americas is born dead by the absence of several brother presidents who reject the arbitrary and unilateral exclusion of Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua by the United States."
What a Shame
Anti-imperialist organizations throughout the region were calling for a full boycott. It seemed so clear what had to be done. Although decisive and unified action against the Empire’s ruthless repression alludes us, with so many yard fowls in our midst, this was surely a red line that everyone could agree should not be crossed. Surely, it was clearly understood that the US did not have the authority, as Sanders pointed out, to enforce this type of exclusion, amounting to blatant and unacceptable victimization. It was not a difficult stand to take, even for the yard fowls. It did not require any degree of militancy, since it is simply preposterous that the US should exclude certain nations at its whim. But alas, once again US hegemony and white supremacy had such a grip on the conceptually incarcerated minds of our misleaders that even this crude and blatant disregard for the rights of sovereign nations was to be ignored. The Master tells them to jump and they cry ‘how high’. What a shame.
Historical Opportunity Missed
At a time when the US is becoming increasingly isolated globally, as a result of its attempt to encircle Russia, a majority region-wide boycott, as CARICOM originally proposed, would have dealt a significant blow to the Empire. It would have also given impetus to the growing number of countries in Africa, Asia and parts of the Arab world, weary of US intimidation, and sending signals that US bullying will no longer be tolerated.
It is clear that the decline of the US Empire and its West European surrogates is underway. This is the tipping point that our ancestors fought and died for. The end of the US dollar as the global reserve currency is inevitable. Of course, its economic and military power is beyond all measure, and it will not go down quickly or easily. In the midst of this historical struggle, it is imperative that those who have been oppressed for centuries by US and West Europe’s genocidal policies do whatever they can to assist in the effort to isolate and further the demise of the Empire. And so it was all the more painful to see the descendants of captured Africans, and those throughout the Americas, whose ancestors suffered genocide and brutal oppression at the hands of this Empire, and who are still being strangled by its imperial policies to this day, flocking to Los Angeles at the Master’s behest.
Prime Minister Mia Mottley joins the ranks of Misleaders
Then there was the terrible moment when Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, took to the podium. She began her speech quoting Bob Marley, so fitting to the times we live in, “Bless my eyes this morning, Jah sun is on the rise again, the way earthly things are going, anything can happen…” Indeed, including the fall of the US Empire if we all join in the push! What followed, in a speech full of progressive initiatives, was an exposé of the contradictions and inconsistencies of her social democratic ideology. The belief that somehow capitalism can be humanized and imperialism can be ended by an appeal to reason, by persuasion and eloquent speeches. Appealing to the Beast, she called for an end to the “inequalities of an old imperial order” with sincerity and that hopeless naiveté that fails to recognize that the very existence of the Empire depends on that imperial order.
She urged the gathering to learn from Europe’s recent example, that there is a dignified way to treat migrants. It was clear that she was alluding to the way that the Ukrainian refugees have been received with open arms. Did she really miss what the entire world noticed, that is, the way that Europe received European refugees in stark contrast to its inhumane and racist treatment of refugees from war torn countries in the Global South, such as Syria, Somalia and Afghanistan?
And the worst moments were yet to come. At the very end of her speech she said that it was wrong that Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua were not present but added an absurd caveat and I quote, “however, those countries must equally recognize that you cannot want to fully participate, if you are not prepared equally to engage and to see progress and that the simple priority must be people, not ideology.”
These are the words that Prime Minister Mottley, perceived to be one of CARICOM’s most progressive leaders, uttered from the podium in Los Angeles. Confusion surely reigns. Since she quoted Bob Marley, she should remember his famous words, “none but ourselves can free our minds”.
In the speech, she thanked Joe Biden and Kamala Harris without a mention of their impropriety. Since she chose to introduce the notion of prioritizing “ideology over people”, she ought to have pointed out that the US proxy war with Russia, which is most certainly about prioritizing ideology over the welfare of the entire global population, is pushing our region, and indeed the world, to famine, or that the United States’ exclusion of Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua from the Summit was a clear example of prioritizing ideology over people.
In fact, her statement reeks of the fallacious and deceptive post-modern narrative, that we now live in a post-ideological world. That it is only those who take a stand against the Empire that are ideologically driven. What about Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and you Prime Minister Mottley, do you not have an ideology? Is the neo-liberal capitalist agenda not ideologically driven? Were you seriously suggesting that it is Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua that don’t want to engage and see progress, when it is the administration of the very people you thanked, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris that have maintained crippling sanctions on those countries? And why? Simply because they asserted their God-given right to self-determination, which includes the right to adhere to any ideology and political system of their choice?
It was Joe Biden and Kamala Harris that chose not to engage these countries by excluding them, even though they had no right to do so, since this was not a US Summit but a Summit of the Americas, as Ron Sanders rightly acknowledged, and yet they were not admonished by Prime Minister Mottley. Instead, the blame was placed on the victims of the United States ideological dogmatism, which obstructs progress and inclusion not only in our region, but throughout the entire world. In contrast, Bolivian president Luis Arce, who chose not to attend the Summit, was clear with regard to where the blame lies when it comes to hindering progress: “With blockades and sanctions, a sustainable, resilient and equitable future will never be able to be built in the hemisphere, as the Summit of the Americas is proposing.”
Antony Blinken, take Bob’s name out of your mouth
Certainly, the most sickening moment of the entire Summit was after Mia Mottley’s speech, when chairperson of the session, US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken commented, “In the words of Bob, no woman no cry, don’t shed no tears, Let’s act, we can sing a redemption song together.” Blinken was clearly delighted with Prime Minister Mottley’s speech. An arch-imperialist, Blinken felt so inspired and confident, realizing that Mia Mottley, who has become very influential in the region, was on side with the US agenda, that he called Bob by his first name, and spoke about us “singing a redemption song together”.
Antony Blinken supports an ideology that for centuries, and in its present form, has spawned policies that are responsible for the death of millions of people throughout our region and the world. We, the descendants of captured Africans, and the rightful inheritors of the legacy of all our ancestors, including the late, great Robert Nesta Marley, say to this war-monger, take Bob’s name out of your mouth.
We salute those on the right side of history
We salute Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves of St Vincent and the Grenadines, President Andre López Obrador of Mexico, President Luis Arce of Bolivia, President Alejandro Giammattei of Guatemala, President Xiomara Castro of Honduras and President Nayib Bukele of El Salvador, who chose not to attend. It will be recorded that they were on the right side of this crucial historical juncture. So many are risking everything, including their lives, to send a clear message to the evil Empire that enough is enough. History will record that these leaders took a stand, joining the ranks of freedom fighters like Maurice Bishop, who said, “No country has the right to tell us what to do or how to run our country or who to be friendly with. We certainly would not attempt to tell any other country what to do. We are not in anybody’s backyard and we are definitely not for sale. Anybody who thinks they can bully us or threaten us clearly has no understanding, idea, or clue as to what material we are made of…we would sooner give up our lives before we compromise, sell-out or betray our sovereignty, our independence, our integrity, our manhood and the right of our people to national self-determination and social progress”.
Gerald A. Perreira is a writer, educator, theologian and political activist. He is chairperson of Organization for the Victory of the People (OVP) based in Guyana. He lived in the Libyan Jamahiriya for many years and was a founding member of the World Mathaba, based in Tripoli, Libya. He can be reached at [email protected].