A Tale of Two Summits

Last week (June 8-10) there were two summits in Los Angeles, California: the Summit of the Americas hosted by the US State Department and the Peoples Summit hosted by US and international activist organizations. The two summits were held in the same city at the same time but could not be otherwise more different.

Summit of SOME of the Americas

Begun in 1994, in the heyday of US international dominance, the Summit of the Americas is officially a function of the Organization of American States. It is meant to coordinate and consolidate US economic, political and cultural interests. The first summit, held in Miami, served this goal well. The Soviet Union had broken up, severely hurting allies such as Cuba. Neo-liberalism was on the march, even in countries such as Nicaragua where the Sandinistas had been voted out of power. The US had recently invaded Panama, making a murderous example of any country or leader that defied US dictates.

Since 1994, there have been Summits of the Americas every three or four years. The summits in Canada (2001) and Argentina (2005) had large anti-summit protests against capitalist globalization. In Panama in 2015, Cuba was invited to the summit for the first time after a group of countries threatened to boycott the summit if Cuba was again excluded. President Obama met and shook hands with Cuban President Raul Castro. There was widespread agreement and pleasure at the US beginning to normalize relations with Cuba.

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