BEATRICE E. RANGEL @rangel_beatrice | The End of Hemispheric Summitry

April 18, 2018Screen Shot 2018-04-19 at 2.02.54 PM

Donald Trump is bound to be remembered as the most creative destructor that hemispheric politics has ever had.

First, he destroyed the centuries-old pillar of world diplomacy known as pacta sunt servanda or treaties must be respected and kept.

In the blink of an eye he pulled the U.S. out of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade arrangement designed to force China to respect the world trading system and its regulations. Then he went after the Climate Change or Paris treaty. Now it is the Iran nuclear containment treaty that is being assailed.

The good news is that in the case of both the TPP and the Paris agreement, U.S. withdrawal simply strengthened the resolve of other signatories to proceed with the commitments therein.

And now comes the Summit of the Americas that for the first time since 1995 unfolds without the presence of the U.S. Commander in Chief. By not attending Mr Trump has clearly indicated where U.S. priorities rest — Clearly Syria and the Middle East come first in the U.S. attention span.

Maybe this explains the schizophrenic approach to the list of invitees which excluded the president of Venezuela on the grounds of being a dictator but includes Raul Castro on those same grounds.

This truly is tantamount to inviting Putin to a world gathering while excluding Assad, given the patron client relationship that rules exchanges between Cuba and Venezuela.

President Trump’s absence from the Lima gathering has demonstrated the uselessness of the rendezvous and the urgent need to build other communication vessels between the Americas.

The Summit Declaration, to be sure, tells the story of a hemisphere abundant in words but crippled on the creation and execution side.

Yes, the situation today in the field of corruption is much better than it was five years ago as in Brazil an independent judiciary has unveiled a corruption network that makes the Cosa Nostra look like child play.

It further unveiled the regional nature of the network and the benign neglect with which the nation that leads the Free World has seen this disgusting distortion of democracy.

And we can also agree that the region has produced more conventions and treaties to treat the scourge than other areas of the world.

But this should have led the statesmen meeting in Lima to the conclusion that the whole region is in grave danger because should the conventions and treaties have been observed, there would not be a corruption network the size of that revolving around Odebrecht, the Brazilian construction mammoth.

The existence of the network is the best proof that impunity reigns and that non-observance of the rule of law is alive and well.

This has opened the door to other more serious modern diseases such as drug trafficking, money laundering and counterfeiting.

The thriving presence on these activities in Latin America explain the prevailing violence. The region is home to 8% of the world population while representing 38% of worldwide murders.

Attending this crisis is of utmost significance. And this entails action, not summitry or more treaties. Summits therefore should be the least priority for the region. As usual, Donald Trump is right!!!

Published by on Monday April 16th, 2018