“Our hemisphere” against “Nuestra America”: the United States faces the boycott of its Latin neighbors

The United States is set to host the Summit of the Americas, but many of its neighbors are unlikely to attend

Reports emerged last week that the United States would lift some sanctions against Venezuela, including those against at least one individual and the resumption of operations by American and European oil companies in Venezuela. This news was later confirmed by Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodríguez.

The United States reportedly eased sanctions as a sign of goodwill after high-level negotiations were held in March, hoping to foster dialogue between the ruling government of President Nicolás Maduro and the US-backed opposition. United. Vice President Rodríguez’s statements in response to this news suggest that the Venezuelan government intends to do just that, as well as to continue the dialogue at the international level.

Undoubtedly, this is a positive step for Venezuela, even if it has a lot to do with the United States and its partners seeking a path to reduce crippling inflation. The criminal and illegal blockade of Venezuela has needlessly and inhumanely strangled the economy. For years, economic problems stemming from unilateral sanctions imposed by Washington have plagued the country and hurt ordinary people — all in an effort to overthrow Venezuela’s democratically elected government.

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Yet Venezuela managed to salvage the situation and last year posted positive economic growth and reduced inflation to a tolerable level after years of economic recession and runaway inflation. That Caracas was able to accomplish this without the benefit of normal trade relations with the West is no small feat and testifies to the fact that US sanctions are losing their power and Washington is losing its influence.

This is precisely why the United States must pursue negotiations with Venezuela, eventually lifting all sanctions, and meaningfully engaging with all of its neighbors, including Cuba and Nicaragua, despite political disagreements. The United States must view its role in the Americas as that of an equal partner instead of relying on coercive actions to satisfy its political ambitions, as this will only isolate the United States in its own neighborhood.

Leaders in the region are taking note of the changing global geopolitical landscape. For example, speaking in Cuba on May 9, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador called on the United States to end ongoing sanctions against the Caribbean country since 1959. He has, as he has , called for a united American community similar to the European Union and also recently threatened, along with a dozen other leaders, to boycott the Summit of the Americas hosted by the United States next month due to its exclusion from Venezuela , Nicaragua and Cuba.

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The Mexican president, commonly known as AMLO, also noted China’s rise as an opportunity for the region. The leaders of these countries want concrete development plans and investment proposals – meanwhile, the United States seems to care only about domestic political issues like illegal immigration and drug trafficking, which are actually linked to the chaotic foreign policy of the United States in the Americas. On the other hand, China offers unconditional development projects and investments that are extremely attractive to these countries.

For Latin American and Caribbean leaders, Washington’s domestic concerns matter little. They want to ensure the security and prosperity of their region, which is the most basic function of any public servant. Dividing the region along political lines and excluding certain countries from various forums supposed to bring the Americas together does not meet these fundamental objectives. It actually does the opposite – and more and more leaders recognize this.

This is, for example, why there are growing calls to abolish the US-dominated Organization of American States (OAS), which currently excludes Cuba and contests Venezuela’s membership, and replace it with a more inclusive. Some countries, including Mexico, are calling for a regional organization based primarily on economic cooperation to help regional development while leaving ideology aside. It is difficult to see, at this point, where the United States would fit into this picture.

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In order for the United States not to lock itself into a corner of its neighborhood – which Washington officials have called “our hemisphere” for almost two centuries – it must seek a rapprochement with these countries, namely Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba, with which they have deep political differences. It must engage in serious and constructive dialogue that goes beyond narrow self-interest. One way to do that would be to heed calls from regional leaders and invite Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba to the Summit of the Americas next month. Otherwise, it only reinforces the opposite notion of “nuestra America,” or “our America,” first coined by Cuban writer Jose Marti in a famous late 19th-century book of the same name. He used it to describe opposition to Spanish rule – but the phrase has been reused today by Latin American socialists to oppose Washington.

The United States has reached an impasse where it can either continue to antagonize Latin America and the Caribbean, viewing it, as it has since the Monroe Doctrine, as its playground – or risk being completely blacklisted from the American community.


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