Atilio A. Boron We Latin Americans know very well that if there is a government in the world that cannot give lessons on democracy, it is precisely the government of the United States
History and the present show that an imperial republic like the United States needs vassals, not partners, especially in current times in which the empire is going through its irreversible decline.
Between March 28 and 30, the Second Summit on Democracy will take place in Washington DC. Wednesday, March 29, will be the day of the plenary meeting. The event is convened by the United States government through the State Department but, as usual, it will have some “associated governments” that will also summon the meeting and whose mission is to disguise that the Summit is entirely a Washington project. The goal is crystal clear: to recover ground in the dwindling international prestige of American democracy, heavily damaged by the increasing levels of popular dissatisfaction with the functioning of democracy (over fifty percent of the surveyed population), as revealed by a host of public opinion polls; and by the unprecedented incidents surrounding the storming of the Capitol, the seat of the U.S. Congress, in Washington on January 6, 2021.
As announced, the Summit for Democracy has ”five co-hosts: the United States, Costa Rica, Netherlands, Republic of Korea, and Zambia and representatives of their governments will officially kick off the Summit, with each co-host leader hosting a live, fully virtual, thematic.” The day before, the Department of State will host a panel session, chaired by Secretary Antony Blinken, about the need for a “Just and Lasting Peace in Ukraine” featuring President Volodymyr Zelensky as its main speaker. Supposedly, Zelensky and Secretary Blinken will discuss, alongside Foreign Ministers from a regionally diverse group of countries, the steps to be taken to reach a ceasefire and a “lasting peace” in Ukraine, although all the policies promoted by the Biden Administration run exactly in the opposite direction. Apparently, gone are the days when the European, and partly American, press characterized Ukraine as the most corrupt country in Europe and Zelensky himself as a despotic and equally corrupt leader. In 2015, the British newspaper The Guardian described it as such. Almost a year after the start of the war in Ukraine other press reports said that “the war with Russia hasn’t changed that.”
Unfortunately, at the time of writing these lines, the complete list of the countries invited to the Summit was unknown. However, an indication may be offered by the fact that the day after the plenary session, dedicated to digital technologies for the advancement of democracies and the dangers of digital authoritarianism, the keynote speaker will be no other than the Minister of Digital Affairs of Taiwan, Audrey Tang. This is a frontal attack on China because the guests at the Summit are supposed to be representatives of independent countries, and Taiwan certainly is not. It is not even recognized as such by the US government itself, but the intention is clear: to promote Taiwanese separatism, harass China, and provoke it into having a military response that would then justify US aggression.
We Latin Americans know very well that if there is a government in the world that cannot give lessons on democracy, it is precisely the government of the United States. Since the beginning of the American imperial expansion the U.S., has been renowned for its permanent attacks against the establishment of any democratic government in the region. When Cuba and Puerto Rico were leading a liberation struggle against Spanish oppression, during the so-called “Spanish-American” war, the United States captured Cuba in 1898 after the Treaty of Paris and spoiled the Cuban victory. If we make a list of coups sponsored or directly carried out by the United States in our countries, we would run the risk of turning this note into a voluminous essay. We are just going to mention a few cases.
In Argentina, the bloody military coups of 1966 and 1976 were sponsored and protected by Washington. In Chile, the brutal coup and subsequent assassination of Salvador Allende, perpetrated on September 11, 1973, was directly orchestrated from Washington by President Richard Nixon himself and his National Security adviser, and later Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger. The coup d’état that took place in Brazil in 1964, and which lasted until 1985, had the enthusiastic support of Washington, as did the 1973 military coup in Uruguay, which also lasted until 1985 when Washington realized that its undisguised support for the ferocious Latin American dictatorships was damaging its international image and that the time had come to bet on democracy, but taking due precautions. We should not forget that Washington prepared an armed confrontation that lasted ten years (1979-1989) against the Sandinista government and used all the means at its disposal to destabilize the government of the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front in El Salvador, in recent years
The worn-out democratic rhetoric of the United States is not enough to disguise the wicked intentions of its new strategy based on the possibilities opened by the use of “soft power” and the new devices to put pressure on progressive or left-wing governments: from the World Bank and IMF “conditionalities” to the oligopolistic control of the media and the indoctrination of judges and prosecutors to put into practice “lawfare” ploys to eliminate undesirable leaders for the empire from the field of the electoral politics, such as Lula in Brazil, Correa in Ecuador, Cristina in Argentina, Lugo in Paraguay, Zelaya in Honduras, Evo in Bolivia and just a few months ago Pedro Castillo in Peru.
History and the present show that an imperial republic like the United States needs vassals, not partners, especially in current times in which the empire is going through its irreversible decline. At times like these, democracies, as an expression of popular sovereignty and self-determination of nations, could not be more dysfunctional for the empire. That is why the Summit for Democracy will be one more farce, a propaganda montage whose real objective is to consolidate a “new cold war” divide between the friends and allies of the United States, who will be considered as democratic, and the adversaries of Washington, demonized as perverse autocracies that will be necessary to fight against by all available means.