By Tortilla con Sal.
Even in Latin America and the Caribbean, most news information and intellectual discussion continues to give undue weight to the premises of political and economic debate in the West. At the Summit of the Americas in Panama, a generation of leaders inspired by Fidel and the Cuban revolution directly questioned again, perhaps in a more concerted way than ever before, both Western economic power and Western moral and intellectual pretensions. In that context, it is impossible to repeat too often a fundamental reality.
The West has always externalized the human cost of its political and economic development onto the majority world of Asia, Latin America and Africa. As Daniel Ortega pointed out in his speech at the Panama Summit, that fundamental reality remains unchanged. Daniel was talking about the United States government, but his remarks apply very much also to Western Europe.
That unquestionable reality makes most people in the majority world tend to look to North America and the West not as the source of models to emulate, but as examples of what to avoid. In Latin America and the Caribbean, the Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas is the most obvious demonstration of this. Inspired by Fidel and Hugo Chávez, ALBA is a practical policy framework prioritizing the development of the human person, rather than corporate greed.
That is why political and economic leaders in North America and Europe demonize Nicolas Maduro and his fellow ALBA leaders. Nor is it an accident that the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean recently projected that Bolivia and Nicaragua will lead economic growth in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2015. It is impossible now for Western governments and their corporate owners to suppress the general recognition in Latin America and the Caribbean of ALBA’s example.
North America and the European Union will remain in economic and political crisis so long as their oligarchic elites continue to extract the costs of their power and privilege from their peoples rather than reinvest in people and the planet their historic debt to the rest of the world. While Western corporate elites can no longer readily externalize the human cost of their countries’ development onto Latin America and Asia. They continue to do so almost at will in Africa.
People in the majority world observe that the populations of Europe and North America are now increasingly the victims of deliberate attacks on living standards by governments controlled by corporate interests. Greece is only the most obvious example. Cities across North America witness similar sadistic deprivation. That domestic economic assault is accompanied by deepening militarization of foreign policy, with Western backed wars in Ukraine and Yemen threatening Russia and Iran respectively.
US foreign policy follows a pattern, matching feigned openness on the one hand with cynical aggression on the other. So the US hails progress on nuclear talks with Iran while attacking Iranian aligned forces in Syria and Yemen. In Latin America, US foreign policy makes nicey-nice with Cuba but persists in fomenting or supporting vicious destabilization of Venezuela, Argentina or Brazil. The Panama summit marked the declining power of the US government and its allies in the region but most certainly no change in their imperialist heart.