The Summit of the Americas is for leaders and countries that respect democracy

Carlos Sánchez Berzaín

The 9th Summit of the Americas will be held in Los Angeles from 6 to 10 June and the United States, in fulfillment of the Interamerican Democratic Charter, has affirmed -through the Undersecretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs- that President Biden “has made it very clear that those States who by their actions do not respect democracy, will not be invited to participate”. Dictatorships from Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua are not invited. Organizations and citizens ask for a similar decision regarding Bolivia and Castrochavism tries to sabotage the Summit with the governments that it manipulates. Up to now, it seems that the Summit of the Americas is for governments and States who respect democracy.

The Summit of the Americas’ process was started by President Clinton with the first Summit in Miami from 9 to 11 December of 1994, seeking the creation of the “Area of Free-Trade of the Americas (ALCA in Spanish)” that was anticipated it would go into effect in January of 2005, something that did not happen. The initiative to have a regional free-trade area was motivated by the North America Free Trade Act (NAFTA) between the United States, Mexico, and Canada, signed on 8 November of 1992 that went into effect on 1 January of 1994 and that it evolved to today’s successful USMCA Treaty (T-MEC Tratado Mexico, Estados Unidos, Canada in Spanish).

The Organization of American States (OAS), through its Secretariat for the Summit of the Americas, explains that “the Summits of the Americas gather the Heads of State and of Government of member States to debate on shared concerns, affirm common values, and to commit to specific agreed-to actions at the national and regional levels with the objective of confronting present and future challenges that countries of the Americas face”. It goes further by adding that “the Summit’s process seeks a multi-dimensional way of strengthening democracy and governance, contributing to reduce poverty and increase opportunities in the Americas”.

The Summit is the meeting of the Heads of State and of Government but beyond this, there are official forums and several unofficial events that take place. For the Summit at Los Angeles, the U.S. Department of State has organized “the 9th Forum on Civil Society”, “the 6th Forum of Youth in the Americas” and “the 4th CEO Summit of the Americas”.

All of this traditional planning and organization is now altered due to the expansion of dictatorships throughout the region. In 1999, Cuba’s dictatorship was the only one and its demise was thought to be a matter of time, but with the life-saver infusion that Hugo Chavez gave it, it has expanded and now controls Venezuela, Bolivia, and Nicaragua (and until recently Ecuador) and it still preaches the same anti-imperialist discourse and still has the same methodology to violate human rights, and still holds power through State terrorism, narco-States, impunity, forced migrations, absence of the Rule of Law, and still has political prisoners and exiles and commits crimes against humanity.

All of this occurred in violation of the Interamerican Democratic Charter (IDC), a “foundational treaty” with the backing of national and international law for all of the States of the Americas. The IDC in its Article 1 orders “the peoples of the Americas have the right to democracy and their governments the obligation of promoting and defending it” and in its Article 3 affirms as “the essential components of democracy … respect for human rights and basic freedoms; access to power and its discharge of duties with subordination to the rule of law; the conducting of periodic, free and fair elections based on universal and secret suffrage as an expression of the peoples’ sovereignty; the existence of a plurality of political parties and organizations; and the separation and independence of the branches of government”.

Russia’s invasion to Ukraine has made it crystal-clear that “the axis of global confrontation is dictatorship against democracy” and has revealed that the Castrochavist group of dictatorships from Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Nicaragua, is integrated into a single block committed to back Russian crimes, as shown in their declarations, voting, abstentions, and affairs.

Dictatorships in the Americas are a Transnational Organized Crime group who is in permanent conspiracy against democracies and who, until now, appear to be the only ones who ignored this planned attack.

The Russian attack is so critical that -beyond pacifying diplomacy- the Summit of the Americas is now compelled to recover its intended nature of gathering the leaders, States, and institutions who respect democracy. The conspiracy against it continues and it now has as a short-term target to sabotage the 9th Summit of the Americas and then to persist in the take-over of democracies, the disqualification and the destruction of the OAS by using bribed or terrorized governments and the creation of unsubstantiated organizations at the dictatorship’s service.

*Attorney & Political Scientist. Director of the Interamerican Institute for Democracy.

Translation from Spanish by Edgar L. Terrazas

Published in Spanish by Sunday May 8, 2022.

“The opinions published herein are the sole responsibility of its author”.