The Summit of the Americas in Cartagena once again brought to the forefront the political differences between the United States and Latin America, which unnecessarily obstructed the dialogue between our country and the rest of the Americas.
On the one hand, pressure from Latin American countries to allow Cuba to participate in future summits, an initiative the U.S. and Canada opposed, prevented agreement on a declaration of common objectives at the end of the meeting.This declaration may not be so significant in itself, since many objectives go forever unfulfilled. However, Cuba could end up being the endless bone of contention, especially because whether or not it attends the summit has little or no effect on what happens at these meetings-and even less what happens in Cuba. We all know the United States’ position has to do with its domestic election politics and more specifically Florida’s electorate.
On the other hand, if the U.S. insists on opposing any alternative to the bloody war on drugs-including legalization, an issue being discussed in Guatemala and Colombia, among others-then the country must be ready to offer the region all the help needed to fight drug trafficking, which is harder due to the current budget situation.
These points of contention damage relationships with Latin America at a time the region is growing its economies and attracting investment. Despite the group of Bolivarian countries or ALBA, whose presidents also excessively focus on political aspects of the differences with the U.S., the relationships the United States has with its neighbors should be much more productive. In addition to possible economic agreements, more crucial issues such as immigration (which is always virtually banned from talks) should be addressed.
At this point it’s obvious that the U.S. is losing ground and moral authority in the region, and that the Latin American “children” are growing up and leaving home.