By Ray Ja,
LATER this week, the Summit of the Americas will take place in Panama. The meeting is being declared historic since it will be the first one attended by Cuba since 1962, when it was expelled from the Organization of American States (OAS), the event’s organizing body. For many reasons, the meeting will bring into clear view the differences between Latin America and Africa.
It will showcase a group of countries that stood by the side of Cuba during years of subversion by Empire. A region that created an organization – CELAC – that bans the inclusion of the imperialists, Canada and U.S., in response to their isolationist policies toward Cuba.
A regional bloc that has shown solidarity and refused to stand-by idly during over a decade of Empire-backed coup efforts against the “most-democratically elected” government in Caracas.
A region that has not forgotten the horrors of the School of the Americas, los desaparecidos, guerra sucia, Operacion Condor, or Escuadrón de la Muerte, and refused to be a black site or support rendition.
A region that knows without solidarity, Empire will pick it apart, piece-by-piece. We will see Venezuela, which wholly rejects its label as a threat, producing nearly 10 million petition signatures, millions of tweets, and the full backing of CELAC’s 33 members.
Venezuela, fully cognizant of the debilitating effect of Empire’s sanctions, giving thousands of barrels of oil to ease the burden on the people of Cuba. It will showcase Cuba, one threat of a good example, which shattered the myth of the invincible white South African army. And a first-ever minority leader, Morales, who actually followed through on the mantra of Change.
A group of countries that demanded to sit at the table and be heard. A Latin America that reclaimed its land, resources, and dignity from Chevron, Texaco, transnationals, and Empire, in the process empowering its marginalized classes, los indigenas, and truly demonstrating poder popular.
A Latin America that recognized Empire’s Trojan Horses, such as USAID, and sent them packing. A Latin America that after 500 years of Manifest Destiny, imperial domination, oppression, and living on its knees, stood up defiantly and said, “No Mas!”
Africa? In Africa, we have governments that fly first class to Europe to kiss the blood-soaked hands of killers. In Africa, we have leaders that shed tears, march, and chant, “Je Suis Charlie,” yet fail to raise a scintilla of a response for Garissa. Instead, in Africa, leaders respond in the ways they were taught by Empire – brutally against civilians (i.e. Kenya).
In Africa, we live in a house built and maintained by others (i.e. the A.U.). An Africa that tries to stand tall … by stepping on the neck of another.
In Africa, we foolishly allow the fox into the chicken coop, graciously welcoming AFRICOM to spread its nefarious influence across the continent.
In Africa, we lease our skies for murderous drones, mortgage our land for black sites, and rent out our waters for foreign destroyers and fleets.
In Africa, governments take land away from the indigenous and lease it for decades and pennies to Empire’s corporate suits and smooth global operators. We have an Africa that shows no shame receiving tonnes of food aid, while food grown on the land it gave away is shipped far and wide. An Africa that remains firmly shackled by the chains of neo-colonialism, but pays no mind because it’s in a trance waving a flag and belting out an anthem.
We have a poor country that can’t feed itself, joining Arab states to bomb some of the world’s poorest, most ragged people (i.e. Sudan; Yemen).
We have an Africa that expects us to take seriously the proposition that IGAD (which can’t conduct a proper chairmanship rotation and is headed by an international law violating, interventionist, occupation regime), will oversee peace talks for South Sudan or “elections” in Khartoum.
An Africa where instead of petitions to correct Empire-backed injustice, gusanos, compradors, and stooges call for NATO bombs or death squads, cheer sanctions, and devilishly work to block progressive outcomes.
Latin America, even with its many remaining challenges and issues, shows us the path toward progress. Africa … your move.