Summit of the Americas — an Embarrassing Flop for the U.S.
It could have been a great opportunity for the United States to step forward in a spirit of collaboration and friendship to forge comprehensive emergency and long-term agreements to address the problems in the Western Hemisphere, including deepening global economic political and social turmoil. Instead, the Biden-Harris administration presided over a dismal flop at the Summit of the Americas, held in Los Angeles June 6-10, in which only 23 of the 35 Ibero-American and Caribbean heads of state showed up.
Washington had unilaterally announced which governments could and could not attend, thus excluding “authoritarian” Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela, which sparked a revolt in which numerous heads of state threatened not to go. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) warned he would not attend, unless the U.S. reversed its exclusionary policy, and when they did not, he kept his word – which was a big personal blow to President Biden.
The absence of the presidents of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, all central to the Biden administration’s public relations gimmick on tackling the “root causes of migration,” was another big blow. Argentine President Alberto Fernandez did attend, but pointedly remarked at plenary session June 9: “clearly, we would have wanted a different type of Summit of the Americas. The silence of those who are absent calls out to us… I want to establish for the future that being a host of a summit doesn’t give one the right to impose ‘admission rights’ on member nations.”
Only through a frantic deployment of arm-twisting and bribery was the administration able to convince other heads of state to attend, offering bilateral meetings with Biden as a sweetener. But there was nothing sweet about the embarrassing collection of “initiatives” they were offered, although Washington not only insisted they would lead the region to tremendous prosperity, but preposterously claimed they would be far superior to anything that China’s Belt and Road Initiative could offer. In fact, Biden’s proposed “Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity” and other measures to “combat migration” come down to promoting free-trade, decarbonization and “clean energy”, and more private investments, but no productive credit for infrastructure development. It is a crass attempt to lock the nations of the Americas into the sinking unipolar world.
The rebellion against the imperial “rules-based” order is well underway in other regions of the world, and Washington’s typical arrogance towards the nations of the Americas will drive many more of them in the same direction. Twenty Ibero-American and Caribbean nations have already signed onto the BRI, and Cuba and Venezuela are also seeking ties with the Eurasian Economic Union, the Russia-led economic bloc closely integrated with the Belt and Road Initiative (cf. SAS 22/22).