The key event will be the embrace between Barack Obama and Raul Castro. Shortly before, the United States and Cuba will announce that they will re-open their embassies: a gesture more symbolic than substantial. For 40 years, they have been called "Interest Sections," so it is just a matter of changing the signs and dusting off the formal attire.
Before the meeting, the results of a rigorous survey conducted on the island will be released. Raul would prefer that it remain hidden because the Cuban government and the communist system come out very poorly: Almost no one likes them. Obama, on the other hand, and his efforts to bury the hatchet have almost complete support from the Cubans. The expectations are enormous: The people want prosperity and liberty.
Obama has decided to normalize relations with the Castro dictatorship. He believes that will be his diplomatic legacy. Perhaps, he supposes, he can accomplish something positive with Cuba after so many failures in the Middle East and Ukraine. To accomplish this goal, he returns to the tradition of maintaining good ties with tyrants — as the United States did with Trujillo, Somoza and Stroessner — without renouncing freedom of expression.
However, his ambivalent expression of cynicism is not comprehensive. Very recently, Obama condemned Venezuela as a threat to North American security. His statement is true, but, simultaneously, he tries to reconcile with Raul Castro, Nicolas Maduro's ventriloquist and caretaker who serves him subversive porridge every morning. It is like punishing a naughty child and rewarding the nanny that induced the bad behavior.
But the worst part is that the United States has Latin-Americanized its foreign policy. It improvises, it does not know what it seeks, and it perplexes its friends and enemies. At this rate, the world that Obama will leave behind when he abandons the presidency in January 2017 will be infinitely more uncertain and dangerous than the one he received in 2009.
Washington, for the first time since the end of World War II, lacks a theoretical point of reference that would permit it to devise short-term, medium-term and long-term goals and to dictate measures to accomplish them. It is flailing around in the dark.
The goal of a democratic foreign policy is to defend the ideals and interests of the society it serves in order to ensure that the government and economy freely selected by its citizens prevails.
That involves identifying and warding off enemies, rewarding friends, and gathering allies together for the common defense. The United States, and almost all the world, would benefit from peace, freedom for the people, growing economies that increase collective prosperity, and respect for human rights.
Who are the principal enemies of these ideals? They are terrorism, corruption that rots governments, mafias of organized crime, and powers that violate the international order and try to create tension between Latin America, the United States and Europe.
It is obvious that the socialism of the 21st-century countries, as well as Argentina, oppose the republican ideals of a market economy and Western liberties. Although Caracas has been ruined in the attempt, Chavist petrodollars have installed leaders that walk arm in arm with Hezbollah's Iranian supporters and Russians that attempt to revert the Caribbean into an anti-North American military platform.
If Latin America had the ability to formulate a coherent foreign policy that matched its values and interests — something that has never been done — instead of establishing dangerous relations with Iran or inviting Putin's Russia to play to the provocations of their American neighbor, an irresponsibility that would only bring misfortune to the hemisphere, it would be doing exactly the opposite.
But this is not the case. In 1948, Truman created the Organization of American States to defend the Americas from the imperial aims of the Soviets. Now, in 2014, Chavism has seized the organism with petrodollars, dominating it with the enemies of democracy and economic liberty. Friends of narcoguerrillas rule and make allies with Islamic terrorists who travel the world with Venezuelan passports printed in Cuba — 173 have been discovered so far.
The United States was the only force capable of creating comprehensive diplomacy and incorporating Latin America, but now, due to its hesitancy, it has lost the initiative. The U.S. is no longer interested; it does not know what to do. The clearest fact that rises from the sad circus in Panama is that the dwarves and clowns outnumber the lions.
About this publication
Owner: Fundación Iberoamérica Europa, "a private non-profit research, promotion, and international cooperation center that, for 33 years, has promoted the values of Democracy, Rule of Law, Freedom, and Peace worldwide and especially in Latin America."
Format: Online, updated daily, 289 contributors from around the world
Traffic: 35,000 average visits per day [source]
Diario Exterior is an online news source that focuses on politics, economy, culture, and communication, with particular emphasis on immigration, development, and international cooperation.
Its principal audience is from Spain (26%) and the U.S. and Latin America (74%). The publication is popular among business, social, and political executives, entrepeneurs, educators, and opinion leaders and shapers.