Latin America: In Search of Lost Sovereignty

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      On July 24, at the CELAC Foreign Ministers’ meeting, President AMLO gave a historic speech in which he reviewed the struggle for independence and the ideal of integration of the nascent American nations of the liberator Simón Bolívar. “Not everything was easy in his struggle: he lost battles, faced betrayals and, as in every transforming or revolutionary movement, internal divisions appeared, which can do more than the battles against the real adversaries”, he pointed out, and concluded that the purpose of regional integration had not been able to become a reality.

      He attributed part of this impossibility to the preponderant influence of the U.S. foreign policy in the continent. That government “has never ceased to carry out overt or covert operations against the independent countries south of the Rio Bravo,” he warned. There is only one special case, that of Cuba, the country that for more than half a century has asserted its independence by politically confronting the United States”. For that reason, he added, “the people of Cuba deserve the prize of dignity and that island should be considered as the new Numantia for its example of resistance, and I think that for that very reason it should be declared a world heritage site”. The president added that one can “agree or disagree with the Cuban Revolution and its government, but to have resisted 62 years without subjugation is quite a feat…even if my words provoke anger in some or many…”.

      López Obrador called for saying “goodbye to impositions, interference, sanctions, exclusions and blockades, and to apply instead the principles of non-intervention, self-determination of peoples and peaceful settlement of disputes”. In that spirit, he went so far as to say that “the replacement of the OAS by a truly autonomous body, not a lackey of anyone, but a mediator at the request and acceptance of the parties in conflict, in matters of human rights and democracy, should not be ruled out”. A bold invocation, undoubtedly, in a scenario of growing conflict between the United States and China, in which the region is also the scene of this confrontation, as he also emphasized in his speech.

      The substitution of the OAS mentioned by AMLO is a rhetorical figure that can be interpreted rather as its weakening through the strengthening of bodies such as CELAC and UNASUR, which have been relegated as spaces for political coordination to address the problems afflicting the countries of the region in terms of respect for human rights and democracy. It is these forums that are of greater importance and potential, since the prevailing differences in the options for insertion into the international economy of the member countries of subregional integration organizations -such as the Andean Community and even Mercosur- have brought down, or are about to bring down, the projects to build a common market or a customs union. Economic integration in the style of the European Union, adapted to our reality, as suggested by AMLO, is no longer a possible model, but this does not mean that these platforms cannot be used in the area of political cooperation and in a multiplicity of matters.

      Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction

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