The Irremediable Destiny of Our America

By Randy Alonso Falcón on January 23, 2023

Latin America and the Caribbean have lived centuries of hard shaping of their regional identity, battling between the appetites of colonial and imperial powers and their legitimate aspirations for independence and unity.

It had to suffer first the domination and plunder of European nations: Spain, Portugal, Great Britain, France, Holland, and later the dominant and neocolonial presence of the United States.

Bolivar and the great independence heroes of the 19th century saw in the unity of these lands the only alternative to European colonial power and the emerging danger of the Northern power.

“The unity of our peoples is not a mere chimera of men, but an inexorable decree of destiny. Let us unite and we will be invincible”, said the Liberator at the Amphictyonic Congress of Panama in 1823.

José Martí, the National Hero of Cuba, would write years later in his memorable essay Our America, when it was already evident the overwhelming purpose of the United States for this region: “The trees have to line up so that the giant of the seven leagues does not pass! It is the hour of the count, and of the united march, and we must walk in a tight square, like the silver at the roots of the Andes”.

But it would not be until almost two centuries after the Bolivarian purposes of unity, that Latin America and the Caribbean would truly sit down at the table determined to build the difficult but inexorable road to unity. Before that, more than half a century before, there was the Empire’s self-interested invitation to the “Pan-American” agreement, in which it would impose its hegemonic designs and establish the OAS as its space of political domination in this part of the world.

The First Latin American and Caribbean Summit on Integration and Development (CALC), held in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, in December 2008, would be the starting point to create the first mechanism to integrate the 33 nations of Our America, without any extra-regional presence or imperialist interests in between.

The Unity Summit, in the Mexican Riviera Maya in 2010, would mark the purposes of the new organization that would be born, a fact materialized in the Founding Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac), in December 2011 in the Bolivarian Caracas.

At that meeting, Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez would point out: “Community of States. It is not just a meeting of Governments; States! But we have to make a greater effort to increase awareness. Awareness, to realize that this path is the only path, with its variants, with its diversities… unity among our peoples, among our States, our republics, our Governments. Accepting, I insist, and respecting, respecting our differences. Without allowing intrigue to spread among us. Without allowing the poisonous weeds to prevent, once again, the united effort.

I am sure that we will not be derailed, that the tares will not triumph again, the intrigue that allowed Monroism to impose itself and bury the project of Bolivar, and of San Martin, and of Morelos, and of O’Higgins, and of Artigas, and of Juana Azurduy, and of Manuela Saenz, the Liberating General. Their project is ours today, and we are obliged to carry it out now, not tomorrow, now and here…!”.

In turn, Cuban leader Raúl Castro Ruz would express in his memorable speech at the summit: “The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States is our most precious work. Symbolically, it consolidates the concept of a united and sovereign region, committed to a common destiny. In strategic terms, it provides us with the political instrument required to unite wills, respect diversity, resolve differences, cooperate for the good of our peoples and show solidarity with one another. Its success will depend on the character and wisdom of its members, who are the 33 independent nations located between the Rio Bravo and Patagonia.

Those were promising times in the region, there was a progressive leadership committed to unity and aware of its importance to face the global challenges and the never-vanquished purposes of domination of the great powers: Chávez, Raúl, Dilma, Evo, Correa, Daniel, Cristina, Mujica and Tabaré, and the Caribbean leaders, marked the dynamics of the organization in all these years.

Latin America and the Caribbean, united in its diversity, began to have a respected voice in international forums, there was talk of the creation of a Bank of the South and regional projects, Celac was established as the body to settle political conflicts in Our America, and paths of cooperation were opened with China, the European Union and other extra-regional actors. Six presidential summits have been held since the founding meeting in Venezuela.

But the United States has never looked favorably on the integration of its neighbors. Together they would be a formidable integrated force that would hinder its aims of political domination and appropriation of the desirable natural resources of Latin America as a whole.

Since 2009, with the coup d’état against José Manuel Zelaya in Honduras, until today, the Empire and its allies of the regional right have deployed all kinds of political, media, judicial and economic tools to try to derail governments and bury progressive leaders in the region. Paraguay, Brazil, Ecuador and Argentina have experienced such episodes.

Particularly, the Empire invented the Lima Group, with the interested leadership of the Governments of Duque in Colombia, Macri in Argentina and Piñera in Chile, to isolate the Bolivarian Government of Venezuela from the rest of the region, seek the fall of Nicolás Maduro and slow down Latin American integration.

It is no coincidence that from 2017 to 2020, in times of restoration of the neoliberal right in several important countries of the region, the Celac suffered an operational and purpose immobilization, which, coupled with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, led to the absence of presidential summits throughout that period. The Bolsonaro government in Brazil opened a major breach by withdrawing from the community in 2020.

The leadership of Mexico, first, and then Argentina, together with a new political change in the region, have led to the revitalization of CELAC in the last two years and the resumption of summit meetings. Tomorrow, January 24, Buenos Aires will host the VII Celac Summit, with the notorious presence of new leaders in the region such as Colombia’s Gustavo Petro and the return of a legendary figure such as Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

The announcement that Brazil and Argentina plan to create a new currency for their bilateral exchanges and the return of Venezuela to the regional concert are some of the events marking the meeting in Argentina.

The host country, reaffirming the relevance, independence and global weight of the region, has invited China, the European Union and the United States to the meeting. The one who was not invited was the unpresentable Luis Almagro, Secretary General of the OAS, puppet of U.S. domination in the region.

During the last Summit of the Americas, in Los Angeles, the Argentine President, Alberto Fernandez, had stated: “I point out the urgent need to rebuild the OAS, if it wants to be respected, it must be restructured by immediately removing those who lead it”.

Washington will send Christopher Dodd, President Biden’s special envoy for Latin America and one of the U.S. politicians who has made the greatest effort to get to know the region. But Dodd’s capacity for dialogue notwithstanding, the Empire’s deep purposes always go out of its backyard. A recent statement by the head of the Southern Command, Laura Richardson, reaffirms the keys to the U.S. view of Latin America and the Caribbean.

The military chief explained this week in conversation with the Atlantic Council think tank why Washington really cares about Latin America. “Why is this region important? With all its rich resources and rare earth elements, you have the lithium triangle, which today is needed for technology. Sixty percent of the world’s lithium is in the lithium triangle: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile,” Richardson said.

According to the official, another important reason is the concentration of “the largest oil reserves”, including those of “light sweet crude discovered off Guyana more than a year ago”.

“You have the resources of Venezuela as well, with oil, copper, gold”, the general continued, also highlighting the importance of the Amazon, “the lungs of the world”. On the other hand, “we have 31% of the world’s fresh water in this region,” she added, concluding that the U.S. has “a lot left to do” and that “this region matters.”

“It has a lot to do with national security and we have to start our game,” the senior U.S. official pointed out, recalling a bit the purposes of “America for the Americans” that were set forth in the Monroe Doctrine, whose political formulation is two centuries old this year.

Bolivar or Monroe? That continues to be the dilemma for the peoples of Our America. Faced with the hegemonic proposals of the northern neighbor and the global economic, environmental and geopolitical challenges, the only irremediable destiny of the peoples from the south of the Rio Bravo to Patagonia is to walk in “united march” and “tight frame, like silver in the roots of the Andes”, as Martí said.

Celac is a mechanism that is committed to a greater degree of political coordination in the face of the challenges posed by the current scenario of profound economic crisis. It promotes peace, stability and the right of every State to build its own political system, free from threats, aggressions and unilateral coercive measures, from a coordinated perspective in the concert of the United Nations.

Six summits of heads of state and government have been held: I Summit, Chile, January 2013; II Summit, Havana, January 2014; III Summit, Costa Rica, January 2015; IV Summit, Ecuador, January 2016; V Summit, Dominican Republic, January 2017, and VI Summit, Mexico, September 2021.

Source: Al Mayadeen, translation Resumen Latinoamericano – US