Challenges of a Plurinational Integration for Abya Yala

Ollantay Itzamná
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For the continental integration of the peoples we need the bicentenary creole-mestizo states to accept the plurinational character of the different countries. This recognition implies the restoration/restitution of the territorial continuity of the original peoples dissected in and by different countries.

The continent of Abya Yala (America) has undergone and continues to experience different processes of integration efforts. Upon the arrival of the Europeans, according to records of the invaders, ships loaded with products and people flowed in different directions through the Caribbean and the Pacific.

There is no record of bloody wars (like the world wars) between Aztecs, Mayas, Chipchas, Aymaras, Quechuas, Guaranis ….. These peoples coexisted, interrelated, without the mediation of feelings of revenge. They were not monotheistic. Therefore, they did not seek to build/impose a single power, or a single political or religious truth on each other. The plurinational character of the Tawantinsuyo is evidence of this.

With the imposition of colonial jurisdictions/territories, starting in the XVI century, dissecting peoples, guarded political borders were erected in Abya Yala that are still in force today. Since then, Mayas from the Guatemalan side regard Mayas living in Honduras, Mexico or Belize as foreigners and treat them as foreigners. The same happens in Bolivia, Peru, Argentina… where Aymaras, Quechuas, Guaranis call their blood brothers and sisters foreigners just because the modern nation states left them on the other side of the border.

Since the 20th century, the different nation states (35 in total) that make up the continent of Abya Yala, made various efforts for sub-regional, regional and continental integration. OAS, CAN, MERCOSUR, SICA, UNASUR, CELAC… are acronyms of some of these efforts.

These and other integration efforts, to a large extent, were and are commercial. That is to say, to facilitate the free circulation of goods, with some incipient additions for the free circulation of their citizens.

The last continental effort of integration of states (without the USA and Canada) is the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), created in 2010, at the height of “progressive governments” in the region, torpedoed by the recent pro-North American neoliberal restorationist governments.

On September 18, CELAC celebrated its VI Summit in Mexico, injecting hope to the continent that dreams of an integral and sovereign integration. We need to become brothers and sisters again, the peoples who subsist within the border fences of the creole and mestizo nation-states.

The creation of a common fund for climatic emergencies, the decision to address the pandemic together and in solidarity, the commitment to regional technological sovereignty, and the rejection of territorial usurpation and economic blockades suffered by some countries in the region, were some of the important agreements of the VI Summit of CELAC.

It is necessary to overcome the mercantilist philosophy that seeks continental integration for the free circulation of money and goods. On the contrary, these flows need greater control. We need continental integration of peoples weaving different economic, political, cultural systems.

For the continental integration of peoples we need the bicentenary creole-mestizo states to accept the plurinational character of the different countries. This recognition implies the restoration/restitution of the territorial continuity of the original peoples dissected in and by different countries.

As long as the Quechuas are dismembered as a people, without any consent, among the states of Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Ecuador, Chile…, it is neither coherent nor honest to speak of continental integration. The same is expected for the different peoples that were and are divided among different countries of the continent.

The continental integration promoted by CELAC will be integral and sustainable only if the plurinational character of the states materializes at the level of the countries that participate in it. Otherwise, following the models of European or North American integration, CELAC’s efforts will be a patronal colonial integration to create a continental market, thus allowing it to sell products and capture a market of more than 500 million potential consumers.