BY NIDIA DIAZ—Special for Granma International—
• HISTORY is full of events that later prove to be defining in the lives of peoples. The call made by Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa for the foundation of “an organization of Latin American states that does not lend itself to tutelage… and which includes countries of the region that have been absurdly excluded from international forums,” has put on the table what everyone has recognized: the clinical death of the Organization of American States (OAS) and its inevitable end. The call, supported this time by Mexican President Felipe Calderón, was made months ago by Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez Frias, and was received favorably by the Brazilian head of state, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, confirming the strategic vision of the Cuban revolutionary leadership which in the early 1960’s described the Organization of American States (OAS), as the Ministry of Yankee Colonies, which has nothing to do with Latin American interests or aspirations.
Examples abound as to the organization’s submissive and compromising behavior over the last 50 years, during which Washington, owner and master of the group, dictated the standards, demanded sanctions and banished those who opposed U.S. domination.
The OAS, for those who don’t remember, gave its blessing to invasions and violations of Latin American and Caribbean sovereignty, and held in high regard the main perpetrators of these actions under the guise of the hypocritical defense of a unilaterally imposed political model which sought to extend for all time the colonial and neocolonial past suffered by Latin Americans, which left the great majority excluded and marginalized. Up until recently, the uncompromising voice of Cuba was the only one heard accusing the group of disloyalty and ineffectiveness and warning of the dangerous control that U.S. imperialism exercised from its seat. The small island was not always heard and more than a few attributed its charges to its differences with the powerful northern neighbor.
The continent paid dearly for decades of neoliberalism, military dictatorships, governments that had “carnal” relations with the master – which occurred not only in Argentina – until the political, economic and social situation deteriorated to the point that the masses stepped forward to ensure the reemergence of a new wave of revolutionary, nationalist and anti-imperialist movements. Using the chipped and rusty weapons of representative democracy, they tore the traditional parties to shreds and have elected new political leaders who have assumed their mandates committed to the conquest of sovereignty and self-determination.
These representatives of the people have been responsible for Washington’s loss of control, little by little, of lives and land in this part of the world and have additionally contributed to the decline of U.S. influence within the OAS, despite its policy of blackmail.
Still fresh is the defeat suffered by the U.S. government in June of 2007, when the new iron lady, Condoleezza Rice, with no convincing arguments, was forced to leave the 37th General Assembly of the OAS without managing a happy ending to the show prepared by the White House to attack the Bolivarian Revolution when, using its constitutional prerogatives, the Venezuelan government did not renew the operating license of coup-supporting Radio Caracas Television (RCTV).
The previous year, during the OAS’ 36th session, the government of Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo had taken on Washington’s work, unsuccessfully promoting a condemnation of the Bolivarian Revolution and attempting to impose on the hemisphere’s agenda the issue of Venezuela’s supposed interference in expressing public support for the candidacy of the nationalist Ollanta Humala.
Without any doubt, these events contributed to the development of the current situation in which the ineffectiveness of the group is clear. It is an inadequate organization, incapable of facing the realities of the times, during which, as President Rafael Correa has said, “Ecuador has stopped being, forever, the backyard and branch office of a world power.” The same could be said for Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Brazil and others.
It was, therefore, clearer than ever before, when the Colombian army violated the territorial integrity of Ecuador with the complicity and support of U.S. intelligence services, that the new Latin America and Caribbean needs a new regional organization that will remove them, once and for all, from the impositions, control and interests of U.S. imperialism.
The solitary vote of the U.S. within the OAS in support of the Colombian attack on Ecuador was the moribund organization’s definitive fall into an irreversible coma and it opened the eyes of the few who still considered mere rhetoric the Bush doctrine of “preemptive war” and the willingness of the U.S. to attack any “dark corner of the world”, especially those where people have begun to say, “No, Mister.”
At such a transcendentally important moment and given the weakness shown by the OAS in the face of such interference and genocide, the Rio Group, meeting in a presidential summit in Santo Domingo, did not hesitate to express its solidarity with Ecuador and defend, with a united voice, the principles of self-determination and non-intervention, which are fundamental.
It is no accident that in Santo Domingo, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega advocated the creation of a new Organization of Latin American States, as his Ecuadorian counterpart had done days before, the embryonic form of which already exists within the Rio Group, a coordinating group forged in the 1980’s to oppose the interventionist policy of the Reagan administration.
According to Brazil, the proposed organization should not be limited to political issues, that equally necessary is the creation of a regional defense council, the objectives of which would be far removed from those of the Inter-American Defense Board, with its headquarters in Washington and through which different U.S. administrations have exercised, as another journalist has said, “harmful interference in Latin American armed forces, attempting to convert the aforementioned Board into a coup d’état, genocide and torture training ground for those in its service.” It is worth remembering that last March 21 a meeting took place between the Brazilian and U.S. defense departments during which the Brazilian minister made a comment to his U.S. counterpart, Robert Gates, on the South American defense initiative. Gates asked, “What can we do?” Nelson Jobim answered, “Stay out of the way.”
A memorable response that aptly portrays the new times. •