The weekly newsletter of the México Solidarity Project


June 22, 2022/ This week's issue/ Meizhu Lui, for the editorial team

It’s My Party: México and Biden’s Americas Summit 

Say your book club rotates hosting among your club’s members. Then, at her turn, Jo lets people know she’s going to leave off the guest list a few club members she doesn’t like. You have several choices. You can protest that Jo isn’t following the rules and refuse to go. You can go but protest when you get there. Or you can support her decision.


Earlier this month, Joe Biden had his turn to host the Summit of the Americas, a conclave open to all our hemisphere. But Biden chose not to invite Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, nations the US deems “undemocratic.” Some invitees, disgusted by that decision, chose to stay away. Some went but called out US hypocrisy directly in the host’s face. Some went and stayed grumpily silent, with the promised party favors so el cheapo they earned the US hosts more disgust than appreciation.  


Biden and his party planners just plain blew this one. The June 6-10 Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles failed to deliver on any core White House objective. Isolate Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela? The heavy US summit hand only strengthened support for them. Reaffirm the leadership role the Monroe Doctrine proclaimed for the US 200 years ago? The summit revealed instead that our “backyard” neighbors are defiantly redefining the boundaries between them and the big house. Weaken China’s influence? The summit made China seem like a better alternative.


Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador chose to sit out this year’s summit in Los Angeles. But he didn’t need a physical presence to make an impact, as our interview this week with ace journalist Kurt Hackbarth suggests. The bold question AMLO has raised hung over the proceedings: Will the nations of the Americas south of the border finally form their own club, minus their undemocratic “big brother” to the north? They can throw a better party, a growing consensus seems to hold, on their own.


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June 2022: Summit of (Some of) the Americas

Writer, playwright, and freelance journalist Kurt Hackbarth lives in Oaxaca. A Mexican citizen and cofounder of the independent media project “MexElects,” he’s currently coauthoring a book on the landmark 2018 Mexican election that dumped the nation’s corrupt political status quo and brought Andrés Manuel López Obrador into office. You can get more detail on Hackbarth’s summit analysis from his just-published Jacobin magazine commentary.

The Summit of the Americas brings together the nations of the Western Hemisphere under the Organization of American States umbrella. When and why did the OAS form?


Kurt Hackbarth: The Organization of American States launched in 1948 as a Cold War tool to further the interests of the US in the hemisphere. The summits began in 1994 in the wake of NAFTA, as a vehicle to give the US a platform to proselytize the benefits of free trade and extend free trade agreements throughout the Americas. AMLO has put it bluntly: The OAS has always been a “lackey organization.”


This year, Joe Biden decided unilaterally not to invite his three least favorite countries. Has something like that ever happened before?


Cuba was suspended in 1962 on the grounds of its being a “dictatorship.” But the OAS welcomed right-wing dictators all through the years — and many of those dictators entered office via US machinations against elected left-leaning leaders! Most recently, the OAS had a role in causing the coup in Bolivia by casting unfounded doubts on the election of Evo Morales in 2019. After a year of bloody repression, the will of the people became clear. They elected the socialist Luis Arce.


In 2015, under President Obama, Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua all attended the Summit of the Americas. Biden moved backward by excluding the three countries.


His administration’s non-invitation saga turned out to be embarrassingly clumsy. First, the assistant secretary of state for western hemisphere affairs, Brian Nichols, disingenuously stated that “we don’t expect [those countries] to be present.” Well, not if they’re not invited! After hemming and hawing, the administration didn’t issue official invitations until mere days before the summit. It seemed that State Department officials had no clue about the backlash they would unleash.


Did AMLO make a wise move skipping the summit?


Not just wise, but masterfully orchestrated, a move that elevated México’s status in Latin America. When AMLO first announced he wouldn’t attend due to the unilateral decision to exclude member governments, the presidents of Bolivia and Honduras followed suit the same day. CARICOM, the organization of Caribbean nations, also threatened a boycott.

Right before those announcements, AMLO had taken a swing through Latin America. He clearly organized the opposition to the US claim to be the sole arbiter of who gets to be deemed “worthy” to participate.


Latin America and the Caribbean effectively used an inside/outside strategy.

Some nations refused to go, and some who did go to the summit spoke out critically. The president of CELAC — the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States — criticized the US non-invitations, and the presidents of Argentina and Belize, together with the foreign minister of Bolivia, gave powerful summit speeches against the US policy of exclusion. Out of 32 countries, only two took solidly pro-US stances.


The US brought “ambitious” goals around migration and climate change to the summit. What did these entail?


What the United States had to offer on migration was so small it was insulting. The US pledged to accept the resettlement of 20,000 people from all the Americas, a region with population of 700 million! Compare that to Biden’s promise to fast-track 100,000 from Ukraine, population 43 million. The US offered $314 million in humanitarian aid for the Americas, compared to $55 billion — and counting — to Ukraine. To add to the insult, the US picked out refugees from Venezuela as the hemisphere’s most “deserving”!


In contrast, AMLO has started two programs in México to address the economic sources of migration: a tree-planting project, Sembrando Vida, and an apprenticeship program for youth, Jóvenes Construyendo el Futuro. These have been successful, and AMLO asked for US funding to expand these initiatives into Central America. The US refused, so México is itself donating money and expertise to help other countries start similar programs.


And the “big” US news on climate change: Colombia, Peru, and Brazil will get to share $12 million to address deforestation of the Amazon. But wait, Brazil’s current president Bolsonaro has actually been speeding up that deforestation by opening up the Amazon — the “world’s lungs” — to the private interests most responsible for the rainforest’s rapid destruction.


The summit’s big-sounding initiatives, like “the Methane Pledge,” amount to little. The US wants to simply cajole countries to curb emissions without financial aid. At the same time, the United States allows US companies to continue drilling on public lands and in the Gulf of México.


Did the summit change the balance of power in the region?


In the past, particularly under the leftist governments of the 1980s “Pink Tide,” nations of the Americas have made efforts for regional economic integration, including setting up their own “Bank of the South” to eliminate dependence and debt to the IMF and World Bank. The United States opposed these efforts, of course, and México under the regimes of the PRI-PAN sided with the US. But now México is leading the charge for independence from US domination.


At the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States conference last year, the host AMLO forcefully argued that the OAS should be replaced with a new organization that does not include the US or Canada. As the region’s biggest Spanish-speaking country and its largest economy, México plays a critical role. The US now stands alone against pretty much the entire rest of the Southern continent.


Is this new tough talk on independence from the United States just rhetorical? Does the region have the economic ability to stand up to the US? In much of the region, China has become the biggest trading partner and the lender of choice, partly because it doesn’t attach political strings to its loans, as the US does. US hegemony remains strong, but its grip is loosening.


What can we in the US do to support Latin American sovereignty?

What the US public does can be so important. The public has the power to stand up to its own government. During the official summit, cries of “Viva México!” came from the alternative People’s Summit in Los Angeles. Medea Benjamin from Code Pink held up a sign with a quote from AMLO. Gestures like these get noticed.


Supporting Latin American and the Caribbean’s economic and political sovereignty can be a real way to defend democratic principles and reduce the power of US corporate interests that hurt us all.

Photo: TeleSur


In the Call for Morena’s National Congress: Real Deficiencies

The National Executive Committee of México’s ruling Morena party has initiated an internal renewal process looking toward the 2024 electoral process. This week’s Reflections — from well-known Morena supporter John Ackerman, a law prof at the National Autonomous University of México — challenges Morena leaders to do much more to ensure a robust democracy within the party. We’ve adopted this text from a longer Ackerman piece published this past Friday in Spanish.


One of the main demands of the Morena National Convention has always been the holding of a National Congress, and we are pleased with the important historical achievement implied in the Morena National Executive Committee’s new call for a third National Congress.

But after a rigorous analysis of the text, we have noted several deficiencies that cast serious doubt on the call’s democratic and statutory nature.


Everything seems to indicate that the true intention of Morena president Mario Delgado Carrillo and general secretary Citlalli Hernández Mora is not the empowerment of the Morena rank-and-file, but rather to centralize control even more in their hands, carry out an internal ideological purge to exclude the most bona fide voices of the workers, and empower groups that reproduce the patronage and corporate practices of the old regime . . .


The call proposes the renewal of all the leadership positions of the party, except those of the presidency and the general secretariat. Shamefully, current president Mario Delgado and Citlalli Hernández are clinging to their posts, openly ignoring the full sovereignty of the National Congress as the party's superior authority. And the entire voting process will be organized by an illegally integrated National Elections Commission that lacks the autonomy, transparency, or professionalism necessary to generate confidence in the electoral results . . .


In an outburst typical of the darkest times of authoritarian PRIism, the call explicitly states that it is strictly prohibited for those who are candidates to make public accusations against the party, its governing bodies, or other candidates or protagonists.


We issue a respectful but energetic exhortation to our National Executive Committee colleagues to immediately rectify the most harmful elements of the call so that it meets the minimum standards of democracy and legality . . .


Additionally, we call on all the conventionists in the country to redouble their efforts in favor of defending the founding principles of the Fourth Transformation of not lying, not stealing, and not betraying.


Today it is more important than ever to work together and, in an organized manner, to prevent Morena from reproducing the vices of the old regime and becoming a new PRI.


Recent news reports and commentaries, from progressive and mainstream media,
on life and struggles on both sides of the US-México border


México signs renewable energy deals with US companies as it steps up climate change fight, AFP. Among the goals would be building transmission networks to allow power from solar parks on the border to be exported to US states.


Víctor Ballinas, Estados deberán aplicar medidas para prevenir violencia contra mujeres, La Jornada. Los senadores y diputados solicitarán a los gobernadores de las 32 entidades aplicar estrategias que erradiquen la violencia contra las mujeres, así como disminuir los casos de desapariciones y fortalecer mecanismos de búsqueda de niñas y adolescentes.


Militantes piden la renuncia de "Alito" por la decena de derrotas desde que llegó al PRI, Proceso. El diputado federal y dirigente del priismo ademas ha estado involucrado en el escándalo por audios filtrados donde se le involucra en actos de corrupción y compra de bienes cuando era gobernador de Campeche.


México targets methane and more in emerging climate push, BNAmericas. México is stepping up efforts on greenhouse gases with its president set to present two initiatives on gas flaring as part a new green agenda.


Desde que compramos Deer Park, las utilidades son de 400 mmd: AMLO, El Universal. El mandatario afirmó que México está mejor en cuanto a la inflación si se compara con Estados Unidos y otros países.


Under pressure to resign, PRI boss also under investigation for several crimes, México News Daily. The 47-year-old head of the once all-powerful political party is battling to save his career.


The Mexico Solidarity Project brings together activists from various socialist and left organizations and individuals committed to worker and global justice who see the 2018 election of Andrés Manuel López Obrador as president of México as a watershed moment. AMLO and his progressive Morena party aim to end generations of corruption, impoverishment, and subservience to US interests. Our Project supports not just Morena, but all Mexicans struggling for basic rights, and opposes US efforts to undermine organizing and México’s national sovereignty. 


Editorial committee: Meizhu Lui, Bruce Hobson, Bill Gallegos, Sam Pizzigati, Courtney Childs, Victoria Hamlin, Agatha Hinman, Steven Hollis. To give feedback or get involved yourself, please email us!


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