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Imperialist Hubris at the Summit of the Americas

Joe Biden has totally bungled the Summit of the Americas, the triennial meeting the United States is hosting this week in Los Angeles.


The Summit often gets billed as the western hemispherespremier” gathering, a session that brings together leaders from all the countries of the Americas. At least, thats the way the Summit of the Americas is supposed to work. Instead, the Biden administration, waiting until the 11th hour to issue invites, opted this year to deliberately exclude the presidents of Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua.

The US Department of State and the Organization of American States insist that those three countries should not be invited because they don’t rate as “democracies.” In a show of imperialist hubris, Washington has anointed itself as the arbiter of democracy, this despite the democratic deficit in the US that all can see.

The Biden administration, since that decision to exclude Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua, has been forced to contend with mounting pressure from leaders such as Mexicos Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Bolivias Lucho Arce. Both have said they would skip the Summit if the US insists on excluding any country. 


The White House does not seem to understand that the heyday of US dominance has now passed. No longer will pliant leaders simply do what the man in Washington says. Latin America and the Caribbean are demanding that their sovereignty be respected.


The failure of this 2022 Summit of the Americas could be the final nail in the coffin of an outdated model. Elected leaders throughout the hemisphere have already begun expressing a commitment to regional integration. México last year hosted the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, an 11-year-old multilateral body that includes every state in the hemisphere with the notable exception of Canada and the US. AMLO welcomed Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela at this CELAC session and proposed that the Organization of American States needed to be replaced with a new body independent of the US.


No matter what happens this week in Los Angeles, no matter who gets invited and who ultimately attends, Biden has succeeded in deepening the mistrust many of the regions leaders feel toward the US. As AMLO has repeatedly stressed, a Summit of the Americas that does not include all of the countries of the Americas amounts to no summit at all.

José Luis Granados Ceja, a Mexican freelance journalist, is currently studying human rights and popular democracy at the Autonomous
University of Mexico City. His writings on democratic struggles in Latin America appear regularly online at his Antimperialistia site.