Gaping abyss between words and deeds at the VI Summit of the Americas as US claims equal partnership while gringoing Latin America with sex scandal, veto, stonewalling.
While US secret services are sent packing amidst a scandal over a week-long boozing with prostitutes, Obama declares “We’ve never been more excited about the prospect of working as equal partners with our brothers and sisters in Latin America and the Caribbean”. Obama also hailed the potential to boost trade between the “nearly a billion consumers” of North and South America. That’s for the words.
Now for the deeds: The final summit declaration was stalled over the issue of Cuba, with 32 nations supporting its inclusion in the next Summit of the Americas, but the United States vetoing that.
Latin American leaders are also pressuring the United States for an overhaul of anti-drug policies, including possible narcotics legalization as a way to take profits out of the trade. Many in Latin America feel a new approach is needed to the drug war – and a shift away from hard-line policies – after decades of violence, in producer and trafficking nations like Colombia and Mexico. Surprise, surprise, Obama was firm in rejecting calls to legalize either growing or consuming drugs.
So, the gringo version of equal partnership remains: “My way or the freeway”.
Obama also got an earful on U.S. expansionist monetary policy, with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff declaring: “The way these countries, the most developed ones, especially in the euro region in the last year, have reacted to the crisis with monetary expansion has produced a monetary tsunami…Obviously we have to take measures to defend ourselves. Note the word I chose – ‘defend,’ not ‘protect,’”, a view shared by President Santos who added: “In some way, (they) are exporting their crisis to us via the appreciation of our currencies.”
And for some of the consequences: China has taken advantage of perceived U.S. neglect and is now the main trade partner for various countries, including regional powerhouse Brazil.
And Obama laments: “And sometimes I feel as if in some of these discussions, or at least the press reports, we’re caught in a time warp, going back to the 1950s and gunboat diplomacy and Yankees and the Cold War, and this and that and the other.”
The US, not the Latin American countries, is caught in a time warp. The world is changing, and changing fast, and the US is in total denial about it.
As a reminder:
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