Blaming Washington: Why the Americas Summit was a Bust (El Pais, Spain)
By attacking the United States, were Latin American leaders at the Sixth Summit of the Americas seeking to divert attention from issues that they would have found personally embarrassing? For Spain’s El Pais, columnist Moises Naim describes not only the diversion being practiced by many of the region’s heads of state, but how much less influence they have compared to those who attended the Yalta conference at the end of World War II – and why that is a good thing.
For El Pais, Moises Naim writes in small part:
One must acknowledge that the official agenda of the Americas Summit was very promising. The heads of state spoke of poverty and inequality, natural disasters, information technology, public safety and the physical integration of the continent. All of these are valid issues. And yet two important points have to be made.
The first is that no summit is needed to make progress in these areas. There is a lot countries can do on their own, and indeed, a few have made great progress. But alas, not all. And those that continue in a state of stagnation are not stuck there because of their neighbors. Their own heads of state, despite delivering fiery speeches at the summit, are the cause of this lack of development. The second point is that these issues were not the ones to receive the most attention, and no one expected to make much progress on those that did: drugs and Cuba.
What do these two issues – drugs and Cuba – have in common? Both allowed the summit’s participants to divert attention from their own failings and put the spotlight on the United States. Why talk about repression in Cuba and freedom of the press in Ecuador, populism in Argentina or militarization in Venezuela, if we can talk about the United States?
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