Fidel Castro Ruz
I took a good look at Obama in the famous “Summit Meeting”. Sometimes he was overcome by tiredness, he unwillingly shut his eyes but, at times, he slept with open eyes.
The Cartagena Summit was not a meeting of a trade union of misinformed presidents, but a meeting among official representatives of 33 countries of this hemisphere. The overwhelming majority of them are asking for solutions to the most pressing economic and social problems that affect the region with the most unequal distribution of wealth in the world.
I do not wish to get ahead of the opinions of millions of persons, capable of making and in-depth and objective analysis of the problems affecting Latin America, the Caribbean and the rest of a globalized world, where a few has it all and the rest has nothing. The system imposed by imperialism in this hemisphere, whatever its name, is worn out and unsustainable.
In the near future, humanity will have to cope, among others, with the problems associated to climate change, security and the production of food for the ever-growing world population.
Excessive rainfall is affecting both Colombia and Venezuela. A recent analysis revealed that on March this year, high temperatures in the US were 4.8 Centigrade degrees hotter than the all-time average. The consequences of those changes, which are well known in the capitals of the main European countries, give rise to catastrophic problems for humanity.
Peoples expect political leaders to provide clear answers to these problems.
Colombians, whose country hosted the disreputable Summit, are a hardworking and self-sacrificing people who need, as much as all others, the cooperation of their Latin American brothers and sisters who are, in this case, the Venezuelans, Brazilians, Ecuadorians, Peruvians and others capable of doing what the Yankees, with their sophisticated weapons, their expansionism and their insatiable craving for material goods will never do. The visionary formula stated by José Martí is now more necessary than ever in history: “The trees must form ranks to keep the giant with seven-league boots from passing! It is the time of mobilization, of marching together, and we must go forward in close ranks, like silver in the veins of the Andes.”
Far off from the brilliant and lucid ideas of Bolivar and Marti are the mulled over, sweetened and relentlessly reiterated words of the illustrious Nobel laureate, expressed during a ridiculous tour around the Colombian countryside, which I heard yesterday in the afternoon. They only served to remind us of the Alliance for Progress’ speeches delivered 51 years ago, when the monstrous crimes that lashed this hemisphere had not been committed as yet, where our country struggled not only for its right to independence but also for its right to exist as a nation.
Obama spoke about the distribution of land. He did not specify how much land would be distributed, when and how.
The Yankee transnationals will never give up their control over the land, the water, the mines and the natural resources of our countries. Their soldiers should vacate the military bases; their troops should be withdrawn from each and every one of our territories. They should renounce to the unequal exchange and plundering of our nations.
Perhaps the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States turns into what should be and hemispheric political organization without the presence of the United States and Canada. Their decadent and unsustainable empire has already earned the right to rest in peace.
I think that the images about the Summit should be well preserved as an example of a disaster.
I leave aside the scandal caused by the misconduct attributed to the members of the Secret Service responsible for guaranteeing Obama’s personal security. I am under the impression that the staff entrusted with that task is characterized by its professionalism. This is what I saw during my visit to the United Nations, while they were protecting the Heads of States. They have, no doubt, protected him from those who would not have hesitated to perpetrate an action against him out of racial prejudice.
May Obama be able to sleep with eyes shut, if only for a few hours, without having anyone saddling him with the job of delivering a speech about the immortality of the crab at an unreal Summit.
I was surprised today when I listened to the speech delivered by Jose Miguel Insulza in Cartagena. I thought that the person who was speaking on behalf of the OAS would at least claim some respect for the sovereignty of the peoples of this hemisphere which were for years colonized and cruelly exploited by colonial powers.
Why didn’t he say a single word about the Malvinas Islands, or demand respect for the sovereign rights of the sister nation of Argentina?
The Cartagena Summit went through episodes that will not be easily forgotten. It is true that its celebration required a huge effort. Despite of the several hours that have elapsed since its inaugural session, we have no idea of what ever happened during the lunch sponsored by Santos, with which he attempted to make it up for the colossal amount of energy used up by the participants in that Summit.
Those who may find this entertaining, will very seldom in their lives have the opportunity to watch the faces of more than thirty political leaders in front of the TV cameras since they got off the car until the moment when, after the heroic and final effort of walking down a long and carpeted corridor, they climbed up the ten or twelve little steps to the stage where the host, smiling and happy, awaited to greet them. It didn’t matter whether they were young or of age, or whether they had flat feet, kneecap surgeries or difficulties in one or both legs. They were forced to keep on to the top. Whether rich or poor, they were compelled to observe the protocol.
Curiously enough, Obama was the only one who took advantage of that trajectory to do some workout. As he was walking all by himself, it was easier for him to do so: he adopted a sport-like pose and jogged up through the steps.
The women attending the Summit either as companions or as Heads of State were the ones who did it best. Once again they proved that the world would be a far better place if they took care of political affairs. Perhaps there will be fewer wars, although no one could be sure of that.
Anyone would say that, out of obvious political reasons, Obama was the figure that caused the worst impression in me. However, this was not the case. I saw he was pensive and at times quite absent. It was like if he were sleeping with open eyes. No one knows how much rest he had before arriving in Cartagena, which Generals he spoke with, what problems were on his mind; whether he was thinking about Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, North Korea or Iran. Quite certainly, of course, he was thinking about the elections, the Tea Party moves and Mitt Romney’s sinister plans. At the very last minute, shortly before the Summit, he decided that the contributions of the richest should account for at least 30 per cent of their incomes, like it used to be before the Bush junior administration. This, of course, would allow him to portray a clearer image of his sense of justice before the Republican right.
But the real problem is this: the enormous debt accumulated by the federal government, which exceeds 15 trillion dollars and demands no less than 5 trillion dollars in resources. The tax to be imposed on the richest will contribute around 50 billion dollars in a period of ten years, while the need for money will increase to 5 trillions. Therefore, he will be receiving one dollar per every 100 that are needed. These estimates can be made even by an eighth grader.
We should remember very well what Dilma Rousseff demanded: “relations ‘on equal terms’ with Brazil and the rest of Latin America.”
“The Euro-zone has responded to the economic crisis with a monetary expansion, thus provoking a ‘tsunami’ that has led to an appreciation of the Brazilian currency and has damaged the competitiveness of the national industry”, she stated.
Those realities do not escape Dilma Rousseff, a capable and intelligent woman who knows how to address them with authority and dignity.
Obama, who is used to say the last word, knows that the Brazilian economy is emerging with and impressive strength and that, in association with others like those of Venezuela, Argentina, China, Russia, South Africa and others from Latin America and the world, will trace the future of the world’s development.
The biggest problem of all is to preserve peace from the increasing risks of a war that, given the destructive power of modern weapons, would push humanity to the edge of an abyss.
I realize that the meetings in Cartagena are taking a long time and the sweetened realities are fading away. Nothing was said about the guayabera shirts presented to Obama as a gift. Somebody will have to compensate the Cartagena designer Edgar Gómez.
Fidel Castro Ruz
April 14, 2012