President Joe Biden’s Summit of the Americas is being boycotted by most countries in the Western hemisphere, and it is opposed by two large coalitions protesting Biden’s refusal to invite Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua to this year’s event. ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of our America), a coalition of 11 anti-imperialist Latin American countries, opposes Biden’s unilateral actions against Venezuela and Nicaragua and the economic blockade against Cuba.
ALBA just held its 21st Summit of Heads of State in Havana to discuss independent trade agreements that build independence, solidarity and cooperation. At that summit, leaders of member countries, including Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, announced they will not be attending the Washington-led summit.
Fifteen CARICOM (Caribbean Community) countries are boycotting the U.S. president’s summit. Guatemala, Argentina, Bolivia and Honduras are not attending it because of their disagreements with the Biden administration.
Clayton Boylan, an independent U.S. political analyst, told the Global Times it is obvious that the U.S.-led Organization of American States, with its imperialist undertones, is losing popularity among Latin American countries. He said, “Everyone knows that it primarily acts for U.S. interests, and with the U.S.’ disturbing history of meddling in Central and South American affairs, many people see the organization as just a lingering shade of U.S. interventionism.” (June 2)
Two coalitions are building opposition to the U.S. State Department-sponsored summit: The Workers’ Summit of the Americas in Tijuana, Mexico June 10-12 and The People’s Summit for Democracy in Los Angeles June 8-10.
Workers’ Summit: End sanctions! No recolonization!
Momentum is building for the Workers’ Summit, organized by workers, leftist and socialist organizations from Mexico, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba, Honduras, Haiti, the U.S. and Canada. The conference and workshops will be held at the University of Tijuana.
An impressive list of delegates will attend from countries under sanctions imposed by the U.S., Canada and the European Union. Venezuela’s representatives include: members of the Federación Bolivariana de Trabajadores del Transporte — Sectores Afines y Conexos (FBTTT) and La Central Bolivariana Socialista de Trabajadores (CBST), and Cuban delegates include members of the Central de Trabajadores de Cuba (CTC). A focus of discussion will be the impact of these sanctions on people in the affected countries.
The Workers’ Summit’s website states that a main goal of their coalition is to “combat the violence applied to our people, mostly by U.S. and Canadian imperialism,” and to organize against recolonization, as demonstrated by growing racism, poverty, unemployment and job insecurity, environmental deterioration of the territories and criminalization of migration.
Their assembly will discuss structural racism and violence against Indigenous, Native- and Afro-descendant peoples. Other topics to be taken up are assaults on trade unionists and social activists, gender violence and sexual and cultural diversity.
Sessions of the Worker’s Summit will be streamed by Alliance For Global Justice (AFGJ.org) and picked up by many other organizations.
People’s Summit: for sovereignty and solidarity
The People’s Summit for Democracy is a coalition composed of over 200 organizations from the U.S. and Latin America. Event organizers are receiving a growing number of endorsements from major unions, immigrant rights organizations and prominent figures from the U.S. and around the world.
While Washington is using its summit to further U.S. imperialism’s interests in the region, the People’s Summit’s program firmly states: U.S. out of Latin America and the Caribbean!
And unlike the U.S.-led summit, the People’s Summit supports the rights of immigrants, women and workers, the rebuilding and protection of democratic norms and the security of families. Its program calls for peace, freedom and prosperity for all people of all countries.
The Los Angeles Police Department refuses to issue a permit for the People’s Summit march scheduled for June 10, when protesters plan to march to Biden’s Summit. Organizers applied for a permit in February and say the LAPD is stalling by blaming the U.S. Secret Service and the federal government for the delay. But they assert this demonstration is protected by their First Amendment rights to free speech and peaceful assembly, and they plan to march anyway without a permit!
Manolo De Los Santos, an organizer of the People’s Summit, said at a press conference May 31 that the U.S. has an “arrogant attitude toward what it considers its ‘backyard.’” He said, “Biden’s summit has already failed because they refused to practice actual democracy. . . . We are not voiceless; we have voices, and we are going to raise them in our People’s Summit.” (People’s Dispatch, May 31)
More information is at workerssummit.org and peoplessummit2022.org.