Latin Left Loses at Summit of the Americas

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in at 4/17/2015 01:30:00 AM
The only real question is: What took you guys so long?
The first-time-ever participation of Cuba at the recently-concluded Summit of the Americas will probably be remembered for helping end insensibly prolonged Cold War mentalities and being a massive photo-op for Raul Castro and Barack Obama besides [see above picture]. That said, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro tried his best to make it another America-bashing festival that it's usually been in years past. Not that he was alone: Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa foretold the imminent American invasion of Venezuela:
“We were all very pleased to see the reconciliation of the U.S. with Cuba” Correa explained, though he criticized ongoing policies saying the U.S. “blockade is completely illegal. Guantanamo is an occupation”. However, he added that “after receiving that good news” on Cuba “we have the executive order declaring Venezuela a danger for the United States, which is a prelude to invasions.”

“They pulled the same thing with the invasions here in Panama, a tremendous injustice, tremendous interventionism. This summit should be celebratory, Obama should be received as the historic president who repaired relations with Latin America. But for that historical error, that absurd, arrogant, imperialist order, everything was lost,” Correa explained. 
Not to be left behind in America-bashing sweepstakes, Maduro tried to get into the action...only to be laughed at for his stupid comments. What do you expect from a guy whose main qualification was to be a bus driver?
[G]ringos attending the Summit of the Americas this past weekend considered it eminently fair to chuckle at Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro – who in his U.S.-bashing speech remarked that he does enjoy American rock guitar icons like Jimi Hendrix and…Eric Clapton. Clapton, unfortunately, is British.

It was that kind of weekend for Maduro. The leader of Venezuela’s left-wing Bolivarian Revolution had come to Panama hoping to turn the summit into yet another anti-Washington fiesta. And on the eve of the gathering it seemed he might have his way.

Then, just before Maduro was set to speak on Saturday, Latin America’s lead leftist – Cuban President Raúl Castro, marking the first time his communist country had ever been invited to the summit – all but short-circuited Venezuela’s agenda. Halfway through his speech, Castro turned to U.S. President Barack Obama, thanked him for his recent efforts to normalize U.S.-Cuba relations and called him “an honest man.” Castro even apologized to Obama, stressing that he’s “not responsible” for what Havana considers U.S. injustices against Cuba, like the 53-year-old trade embargo.
There was no shortage of other leftist Latin leaders at the event, but they shut up for the most part. I may be wrong, but I think it shows the region is moving to a more centrist position:
Many of the heads of state who came to Panama noted that the country with a canal through it lies in the hemisphere’s geographical center. But as the summit concluded Saturday night, thanks to the rare U.S.-Cuba display of common sense, the isthmus seemed situated in the political center as well. So, at least for the moment, did the leaders gathered there, most of whom were applauding the Washington-Havana thaw and the prospect of post-ideological interaction for once from Alaska to Argentina.
As much as the US is responsible for all sorts of wrongheaded actions in Latin America, it is unlikely that everything that has gone wrong there can be laid on the United States' doorstep. Because the US likes to keep butting into others' affairs, however, there is always a convenient pretext for Blaming the US for All Latin American Failings. Oftentimes, the frailties of these countries are attributable to themselves more than anyone else. I guess more leaders are just recognizing this and are trying to move on, even if some would prefer to dwell in a past characterized by misgivings, mistrust, and grudges that refuse to go away.