From FTAA to CELAC; U.S. Interference Does not Stop

By Katu Arkonada on January 18, 2023

On January 24, the VII Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) will be held in Buenos Aires, a meeting which will be attended by around 15 presidents of the region, among them Lula da Silva, and which will be presided over by the host Alberto Fernandez.

It is obvious how important it is for the Argentine government that the CELAC Summit be successful, since in the midst of the delicate internal political situation the country is going through, with a presidential election coming up on October 22, the success of the summit and the transfer of the pro tempore presidency (to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, member country of ALBA) would help to improve Argentina’s image in all of Latin America and the Caribbean.

But the Latin American right wing, hand in hand with the State Department and its intelligence agencies, continue to conspire to prevent the development of CELAC, which has been strengthened by the incorporation to the progressive axis of the governments of Petro in Colombia, Boric in Chile, and Xiomara Castro in Honduras, a country that will soon join another instrument of regional integration such as ALBA-TCP.

The bet of the regional right wing and the United States, which in its time was the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), that was defeated precisely in Argentina, at the Mar del Plata Summit in 2006, is the OAS (beyond the fact that they will soon drop the puppet Almagro).

And just as at the height of the progressive cycle they conspired to impose “free trade” in all America from Canada to Patagonia, now they are doing it to defeat “cultural Marxism” and “gender ideology”. To devise a plan of action against “socialist expansion” in Latin America, the world’s largest far-right organization, the Conservative Political Action Conference (CEPAC), with Trump’s former Chief of Staff, Steve Bannon, at its head, recently met in Mexico.

Its results have not been long in coming. Several of its participants have played a leading role in the parliamentary coup against Pedro Castillo in Peru, the second part of the Bolivian coup led by Fernando Camacho in Bolivia, or the coup attempt to democracy on January 8 when Bolsonaro’s followers took over in Brasilia the Planalto Palace, the National Congress, and the Supreme Federal Court.

Katu Arkonada

Now, the Latin American right wing in general and the Argentine right wing in particular, which is showing strength, especially within the justice system, are conspiring to strike at the image of Alberto Fernandez, and by extension to weaken CELAC. In addition, there is the interest of the Cuban-American right wing in Miami that aims to hit the presence of the delegations of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, in addition to the governments they consider socialist such as Bolivia, Honduras, Mexico, and Brazil, now that it has announced its reincorporation to CELAC.

Among the Miami extremists who are gathering to conspire against CELAC are:

– Orlando Gutiérrez Boronat, president of the Cuban Democratic Directorate (DDC) which has been characterized by its permanent provocative actions against Cuban delegations in Ibero-American summits and other international forums.

– Tomás Pedro Regalado y Valdez, former Mayor of Miami, Republican Party militant and loyal Trump supporter, current President of the Inter-American Democracy Institute.

– Luis Manuel de la Caridad Zuñiga Rey. Former CIA agent and former Director of the Cuban American National Foundation (CANF), for which he was responsible for its paramilitary group.

– Rosa María Payá, supported by Marcos Rubio and Luis Almagro, her mission is the anti-Cuban campaign abroad, being received by members of the European Parliament at the request of the State Department.

The aforementioned individuals have in common the fact that they receive generous funding from U.S. federal agencies, support any measure that reinforces the blockade, and have publicly called for military intervention against Cuba and Venezuela.

But any action at this CELAC Summit cannot be carried out without local collaboration, and for this purpose they are meeting and conspiring with the following people of Argentine nationality:

– Gabriel Salvia, President of the Center for the Opening and Development of Latin America (CADAL) foundation, funded by USAID and the State Department.

– Gerardo Bongiovanni, director of Fundación Libertad, financed by NED and USAID, and also linked to the ATLAS, PADF, RELIAL, CATO Institute, Friedrich Neuman and Konrad Adenauer foundations, all of them in permanent campaign against Latin American progressive governments.

– Leandro Querido, with close relations with Rosa María Payá, executive director of the NGO Transparencia Electoral.

– Agustín Antonetti, coordinator of the youth group of Fundación Libertad, media articulator of the Atlas Network and main operator on Twitter of the anti-Cuban campaign in July 2021 and 2022.

– Micaela Hierro Dori, founder and president of the Democratic Culture association, used by the NED as an intermediary to finance organizations such as the San Isidro Movement.

All of these right wingers, Americans, Cubans and Argentines, are working on the following actions:

– Initiate a strong campaign in media and social networks against the delegations of Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia and Mexico, using regional and also national media, to provide negative coverage about the CELAC Summit.

– Using funds from U.S. federal agencies and funds destined to social projects of the OAS to finance the transfer to Buenos Aires of elements of the Latin American ultra-right, in order to carry out actions within the framework of CELAC.

– In view of the complex situation of Cuba’s official airline and the possibility of resorting to a Russian or Venezuelan aircraft, they are exploring a legal maneuver to retain the plane, as happened recently with the Venezuelan-Iranian cargo plane of the Emtrasur company.

– Mobilize counterrevolutionary Cubans, Argentinean friends and other nationalities in Buenos Aires to demonstrate in front of the embassies of the aforementioned countries.

– To use Rosa María Payá’s contacts with the President of Uruguay Luis Lacalle Pou to reissue during CELAC the attacks against Cuba, as happened in the previous summit in Mexico.

– To take steps with the delegations of Paraguay and Ecuador so that in the context of the Summit they make declarations against the governments described as “dictatorial”.

As  it happened in 2006 in Mar del Plata, it is essential that in 2023 in Buenos Aires this new attack against Latin American and Caribbean integration be exposed and rejected.

Translation: Resumen Latinoamericano – US