Judging by the coverage provided by Western media, especially in the US, they were under an impression that the establishment of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) ranked essentially as background news. Reporting from Caracas, where a forum of 33 presidents and premiers of the region's countries convened on December 2-3, was deliberately minimalistic, with emotions surfacing only in connection with the health problems of Venezuelan leader H. Chavez, who hosted the summit. In fact, he made it clear a number of times that he had coped with them and is ready to take charge for a couple of decades to come, but the Empire, with its permanent reliance on disinformation campaigns, does not seem to hear.
Yet, the summit left no chance to the notorious Monroe doctrine which only recently promised to live on as long as the US stays in place. Back in 2008, Chavez called the US Administration to scrap the Monroe doctrine introduced by US fifth President J. Monroe and implied that the US would not interfere with European colonies but would in return insulate the Western Hemisphere from European colonization attempts. Chavez reiterates in every contact with the US media that Washington should drop the doctrine and cites US third President T. Jefferson's statement that the US would one by one absorb all the republics south of it as evidence of the US imperial nature.
Tighter Latin American integration willed by the continent's liberator Simon Bolivar was a recurrent theme during the Caracas forum. Bolivar said in 1828 that, paradoxically, the US was destined to saw poverty across Latin America in the name of freedom. Right, left, and centrist Latin American leaders alike made frequent references to the concept in Caracas. Washington's aggressive foreign policies evoke explainable concerns in the countries south of Rio Grande. The Empire constantly uses raw power to implement its strategic and geopolitical designs, meddles on fake pretexts in the affairs of sovereign states, and routinely organizes plots with the purpose of killing defiant politicians. Now that the Pentagon got bogged down in Asia and Africa, illusions may rise that the Empire lost interest in Latin America, though actually the US subversive activities against it never came to a halt. Washington's most serious efforts were focused on identifying strategic targets in Brazil, Venezuela, and Cuba, but the US allies like Columbia, Chile, and Mexico should not feel immune either. Today's allies may be tomorrow's foes and are similarly subject to surveillance and oversight.
Raul Castro urged the forum participants to be more muscular in countering external attempts to destabilize the situation in the region. He stressed that Washington would not be allowed to treat Latin America as it used to when it imposed on the continent's peoples unfair development models and subdued them. Castro spoke of the decades of the ruthless US economic blockade against Cuba, which he described as one of the worst crimes against humanity in history. He said that, similarly, the US campaigns in Libya and other countries were international crimes which, moreover, threatened to become a norm given the shameful UN inaction.
Quite a few watchers interpreted the establishment of CELAC as the Latin American countries' “historical revenge”. Since 1948, all of them were members of the US-engineered Organization of American States which the Empire routinely employed to reign – by repressions, tortures, and mass killings – in defiant countries like Guatemala, Nicaragua, Grenada, Panama, or Chile. The torture programs put together in the School of Americas are still in use in the countries politically aligned with the US.
It is worth noting that the list of presidents “punished” by Washington includes both left and right politicians. The list of the slain left – Columbia's J. Gaitan, Chili's S. Allende, Panama's O. Torrijos – is almost endless. Panama's M. Noriega, though, was by all means a rightist and still ended up treated harshly by Washington. He loyally helped the US supply arms to Central American contras, but was put behind bars by Washington over cocaine business once no longer needed. Noriega made it difficult for the US DEA to monopolize cocaine supplies from Columbia via Panama to the US. Former Columbian president A. Uribe is a potential next target. Uribe was instrumental in organizing the paramilitary formations which launched bloody raids against insurgents. Trying to remain useful to his US patrons, afterwards he instigated campaigns against populist regimes, relaying Washington's invectives against H. Chavez, C. Correa, and E. Morales. As many times before, betting on the US gratitude to “its own son of a bitch” did prove an ill-conceived tactic in Uribe's case.
Washington fairly often pressed for sanctions against defiant regimes in the Organization of American States. No doubt Chavez has been drawing Washington's ire more than any other Latin American political figure in the recent past. The Venezuelan leader spearheaded an OPEC reform which set fairer energy prices and therefore could not but anger the US, staunchly advanced Latin American integration, and, with Russia's and China's backing, started a rearmament of the Venezuelan military. Chavez slams the Organization of American States – an obsolete, inefficient, and hostile formation, in his words – over its pro-US orientation and de facto support for the blockade imposed on Cuba. Chavez and his Ecuadoran, Bolivian, and Nicaraguan allies call into question the ability of the Organization of American States to sustain a sensible reform and hold that a withdrawal from the malfunctioning alliance might be the optimal solution.
It is clear that regional security will be climbing higher on the CELAC agenda. Privately, Latin American leaders discuss at length the potential impact the socioeconomic instability in the US may have, especially in the wider settings of the current global crisis. As of today, the wars waged by Washington are of an openly gangster type, the undisguised objective being to completely undermine the existing global configuration in the interests of Pax Americana. As a result, the Empire's strategic priority is to maximally neutralize alternative centers of power. Chavez maintains that absent a permanent state of war the Empire's chances to stay afloat are slim: the US economy will face an even deeper crisis unless the country's bloated military-industrial complex perpetually gets a full workload. The recent US attack on the nuclear-armed Pakistan's checkpoints sent to the world an ominous message as the motives of the Pentagon planners remained obscure. Chavez believes that Washington faces a dilemma of choosing between a nuclear war and a total evaporation of its global might by the middle of the XXI century.
It is impossible at the moment to predict which exactly forms the dismantling of the Empire will take, but its domestic politics already appears to be ready to explode with protests. In particular, the US elites are afraid of the thousands of veterans of the Iraqi and Afghan campaigns. The media abound with veterans' suicide reports but say nothing about the readiness of many of these people to seek revenge for the lost years of their lives, the deaths of their peers, and the collapse of their ideals. This new type of a terrorist threat is brewing in America's disadvantaged suburbia, waiting to be unlocked by the crisis. The US elites hope to par the challenge based on the myth of a new external source of peril. The role used to be given to Al Qaeda, while today's US enemy is Syria where the administration suppresses protests which are actually staged by the agents of the CIA and the Israeli, British, and French intelligence services, plus Iran, the country showered with allegations of building a nuclear arsenal for a snap attack against the West.
Chilean poet and 1945 Nobel Prize winner Gabriela Mistral said that, in addition to their beautiful language, Latin Americans are, more than by anything else, united by the hate for the US. Regardless of how many things have changed since the epoch in which she coined the phrase, the hate is still there and growing stronger, being one of the reasons which make the CELAC rock-solid.