The United States is set to host the summit, but many of its neighbors are unlikely to attend.
Reports emerged last week that the United States would lift some sanctions against Venezuela, including sanctions against at least one, and resume operations by US and European oil companies in Venezuela. After this news Sure By Venezuelan Vice President Delsi Rodriguez.
The United States is reportedly easing sanctions as a goodwill gesture after high-level talks in March in hopes of encouraging dialogue between the ruling government of US President Nicolas Maduro and US-backed opposition. In response to the news, Vice President Rodriguez’s statement suggested that the Venezuelan government intends to do so, as well as to continue the dialogue at the international level.
Undoubtedly, this is a positive step for Venezuela, although it continues to look for ways to reduce crushing inflation with the United States and its partners. Venezuela’s criminal and illegal blockades have unnecessarily and inhumanely stifled the economy. Over the years, economic problems arising out of unilateral sanctions imposed by Washington have plagued the country and hurt ordinary people – all in an attempt to overthrow the democratically elected Venezuelan government.
Nevertheless, Venezuela has managed to recover the situation and, last year, posted positive economic growth and reduced inflation to a tolerable level after years of economic recession and runaway inflation. It is no small feat that Caracas was able to accomplish this without the benefit of normal trade relations with the West and it speaks to the fact that US sanctions are losing their power and Washington is losing its advantage.
That is why the United States must continue negotiations with Venezuela, eventually lifting all sanctions, and engaging meaningfully with all its neighbors – including Cuba and Nicaragua – despite political differences. The United States must see its role as an equal partner in the United States, not relying on coercive actions to satisfy its political ambitions, because doing so would only alienate the United States from its own neighbors.
Leaders in the region are watching the changing global geopolitical landscape. In a speech in Cuba on May 9, for example, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador called on the United States to end sanctions imposed on the Caribbean country since 1959. With the exclusion of Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba, the European Union and, more recently, about a dozen other leaders have threatened to boycott next month’s US summit in the United States.
The Mexican president, commonly known as AMLO, also cited China’s rise as an opportunity for the region. The leaders of these countries want specific development plans and investment proposals – the United States, meanwhile, seems to be concerned only about internal political interests, such as illegal immigration and drug trafficking, which are in fact linked to America’s chaotic US foreign policy. China, on the other hand, is proposing no-string-linked development projects and investments that are highly attractive to these countries.
For Latin American and Caribbean leaders, Washington’s internal concerns are less important. They want to bring security and prosperity to their region, which is the most basic job of any government employee. Dividing the region along political lines and excluding some countries from various forums designed to unite the United States does not meet these basic goals. It does the opposite – and more leaders acknowledge it.
Why the growing call, for example, is the U.S.-dominated Organization of American States (OAS), which is currently debating Cuba’s exclusion and Venezuela’s membership, and replacing it with a more inclusive body. Some countries, including Mexico, are calling for a regional body based primarily on economic cooperation to support regional development, putting ideology aside. At the moment, it’s hard to see where the United States would fit into this picture.
In order to keep the United States out of the box in one of its corners, – which Washington officials have referred to as “our hemisphere” for nearly two centuries – it must unite with countries such as Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba. Intense political differences. It must engage in serious and constructive dialogue that goes beyond narrow interests. One way to do this is to listen to the requests of regional leaders and invite Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba to the US summit next month. Otherwise, it only reinforces the antithesis of ‘Nuestra America’ or ‘Our America’, first created by Cuban author Jos Mart্টি in a famous book of the same name in the late 19th century. He used it to describe opposition to Spanish rule – but the term has been re-used by Latin American socialists in modern times to oppose Washington.
The United States has found itself in a stalemate where it could continue to oppose Latin America and the Caribbean, seeing it as its playground since the Monroe doctrine – or the risk of being blacklisted entirely by the American community.