SOLIDARITY & CONTROVERSY AT THE 6th SUMMIT OF THE AMERICAS, April 14-15th #Cartagena, #Colombia #water #poverty #women #usa #cuba #oas
I consider myself privileged to have heard the following speeches with my own ears – and to be reliably informed by certain political allies in the delegations of certain States of some aspects you will not see mentioned in the media – that transpired during the VI Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia.
What follows is a synopsis of what I heard from the Spanish to English translators in the Official Conference room :
* President Juan Manuel Santos of the Republic of Colombia:
“I am truly ashamed at the inequality in the Americas…in such a rich Hemisphere…it must not be this way, development flows naturally where equity exists.
Before I came to this Summit I went first to the Arhuaco Indigenous People of the Sierra to seek their advice, for they have a unique way of seeing the world.
They told me ‘Mother Nature feels that she has been treated unjustly – and Mother Nature will not remain silent, give justice to Mother Nature now – because it will be very bad for humanity if we don’t!’
When I won the Presidency of Colombia – I first made my oath of office before the Arhuaco People – then after in the Parliament of Colombia, I was going to have an open air event and they told me not to worry about the weather “because on that day it will not rain”, and indeed it did not, but the next day and for days after we had unprecedented rainfall in Colombia and massive flooding the likes of which we have never seen before. Truly, Indigenous peoples have a spiritual connection to the natural world that we will never truly understand.”
“We have a combined population of over 930 million people in the Americas, we have the best water and food security on Earth in South America; I am told that experts predict that in the future wars will be fought over water.”
“We must build alternatives to Colonialism and Neo-Colonialism…and create a new social model that is NOT based on Capitalism or Communism – for they have both been found lacking and do nothing to fulfill the dignity of our peoples.”
* President Evo Morales Ayma of Bolivia:
“The struggle for freedom started by our Indigenous ancestors over 500 years ago still continues in the Americas, the most discriminated, marginalized and hated sector in each society on Earth is that of the Indigenous Peoples.”
“We have 10 million people in Bolivia, in 2005 when I democratically won the Presidency foreign investment was 600 million dollars, in my 7 years we have increased foreign investment to 5 Billion dollars….this is because we nationalized our hydrocarbon industry. We no longer need to go to the IMF or World Bank to be able to fund Education or Social Welfare programs in our country, before this…. 82% of profits from hydrocarbons used to go to multinationals and only 18% to Bolivia; and we have completely reversed this state of affairs under my administration.”
“When we assumed office in 2005 Bolivia had foreign reserves of 1.7 Billion dollars, this after centuries of Colonial and Neo-Colonial rule. In just over 6 years of Indigenous government we have now in Bolivia foreign reserves of 14 Billion dollars.”
“Capitalism brings food and energy crisis’s…the foreign debt of Capitalism and imperialism is unpayable….it only concentrates wealth in the hands of the few while the majority remain poor.”
* Fortunato Rafael Roncagliolo de Orbegoso, Foreign Minister of Peru:
“All of the countries of this Hemisphere once were European Colonies – and all of us carry a great debt to our Indigenous Peoples who suffered the most from European Colonialism, and therefore…the first obligation of a true democracy is the restitution of the rights of the Indigenous Nations that still reside within our borders. If not….then we are ‘democracies’ in name only, but not in reality.”
“We must all support Argentina’s rightful claims to the Malvinas Islands”
* Héctor Timerman, Foreign Minister of Argentina:
“I was at a meeting with the worlds 300 richest men recently, to discuss ‘poverty‘ and ‘women‘…so I said to them ‘If we are talking about the poor and about women – why are there no poor people or women here?”
“In Argentina we are still dealing with 19th century Colonialism…how can lands in the Americas still be ruled by the United Kingdom?
40 resolutions in the United Nations in Argentina’s favor…is the United Nations for all or just for some?
We must make the uncomfortable comfortable – and the comfortable uncomfortable!”
- WHAT FOLLOWS IS A SYNOPSIS OF WHAT I WAS CONFIDENTIALLY TOLD BY POLITICAL ALLIES:
“On the night of Friday 13th April 2012 things became heated in the room with the Foreign Ministers of the OAS member States – to the point where everyone was ordered out of the room and only the Secretary General of the OAS was allowed to remain with the Foreign Ministers.
The main issues that are creating deepening divisions in the OAS today are as follows:
Despite President Obama’s promise on his campaign trail prior to becoming the President of the USA to ‘end the embargo on Cuba and restore normal friendly relations’ he has instead delivered only a promise of ‘change which we CANNOT believe in’ since assuming office; perhaps his next book should be titled ‘The audacity of False Hope’.
ALL countries want the American embargo on Cuba lifted – except the USA which vetoed consensus again.
ALL countries wanted to re-admit Cuba into the OAS – except the USA which vetoed consensus again.
All Latin American countries support Argentina over the Malvinas/Falkland Islands territorial dispute, the USA and Canada vetoed consensus.The USA said it has a ‘special relationship with the UK‘ so it could not support, and Canada said the Queen of England is the head of State of Canada as a Commonwealth country so it could not support Argentina. The Caribbean countries remained silent on the issue, it is not surprising that the former English Colonies and Commonwealth states did not support Argentina (and antagonize the UK) – for they depend heavily on tourism and monetary aid from the UK, and neither did they openly oppose Argentina (and antagonize Latin America) – for they know very well that the UK cannot provide cheap oil or food to the Caribbean which the increasingly powerful Latin American block can; so they are sitting on the fence to see which way the wind blows.
Haiti shocked the Latin American block of countries in remaining silent on the Malvinas issue, for Haiti was never a colony of the UK, is not a member of the Commonwealth, and is just a member of CARICOM which can do little to nothing for it in real terms. Also – Brazil is the most powerful country south of the USA border and is a key backer of Argentina on this issue, and Brazil has done more to help Haiti than any other country in the world.
This VI Summit of the Americas has resulted in a Hemisphere that is more divided than ever before, though the overt stage-show will portray otherwise for public consumption, it was a failure unlike the Indigenous Leaders Summit of the Americas which in comparison was a resounding success.
Latin America will boycott the next Summit of the Americas if Cuba is not re-admitted to the Organization of American States.”
As my plane took to the skies and I left Colombia I remembered with sadness in my heart – the disappointment on the face of Dr. Luis Toro on the last occasion that I saw him at the Summit – before my political allies came to my Hotel room with the info above. The Chilean born Dr. Toro is the Head of the Department of International Law at the Organization of American States – and is the hardest working man in the OAS that I have ever had the honor to meet. To think of all the hard won resources and personal time and strenuous effort of so many dedicated OAS staffers like him who were burning the midnight oil to try to make this VI Summit a resounding success…only to see two countries effectively sabotage the possibility of anything new, concrete or historic – being the end result of it all.
Instead, we witnessed a very grand photo opportunity and heard well crafted political oratories by the Heads of State of the Americas.