December 10, 2006

II Summit of the South American Community: Balance

MABB © ®

The II Summit of the South American Community is over and here is the balance. In few words, it can be said that the summit was NOT successful, even though the government, for logical reasons, might have an opposite view. Although, in one aspect, it was a hit.

If one criteria for success was South American integration, a la Boliviar, then the summit failed to lay the grounding stones. The presidents and other representatives, all, agreed on one single thing: Integration. However, pretty much all disagreed on how the integration should be carried out. There were basically two observable currents. The one, following the Chavez and Morales agenda has populist, socialist and communitarian undertones. It concentrates on "taking care of the people". The other current is that of Alan Garcia and Michelle Bachelet, and perhaps, Lula da Silva. That is, it also has social undertones, but is does not define itself as enemy of globalization and neoliberalism. This las part is one of the most important ideological differences.

The summit failed to create a mechanism to start the planning and coordination stages. Instead it created a High Officials Commission, which would further work on the integrationist goal. It also failed to create consensus among the participating governments. In their speeches, many Presidents, such as Chavez, Da Silva, Bachelet, Garcia, and even Morales himself, conceeded that consensus was not present and even criticized the summit as not productive.

One of the highlights was though, the rapprochement between Peru's Alan Garcia and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. The two had exchange insults during and right after the Peruvian elections. Both countries had pull their top diplomats out of the respective countries.

Additionally, the summit was plagued by confusion, disorganization and lack of facilities to hold a meeting of that calibre. The organizers admitted the problems and made it clear they warned Morales of all those problems.

Meanwhile, the oppostion did not waist time and sought several meetings with some presidents. Prefect of Cochabamba, Manfred Reyes Villa, met with Vazquez and Lula da Silva. He wanted to explain the details of the crisis in the Constituent Assembly over the voting methodology. Former president Rodriguez Velze, wrote a letter to Da Silva to also express his opinions and inform him in detail.

It seems a bit ironic to me hosting the summit and speaking of regional integration when at home is being talked about "independence".


Anonymous said...

Interesting analysis Miguel, not quite accurate though, IMHO. I totally agree with you that the summit was not a big success, unfortunately for Evo and Latin America, but I don't think we should blame it all on him or the organization (has this been good or bad, that doesn't matter much now). The summit, I would say, just made it clear that our Latin America is now permeated by different interests that, either we like it or not, go far beyond those of the nation-states. Clearly, Alan García owns a pretty good deal of thanks to the ALCA and its supporters who, at their turn, supported Alan in the last elections; no wonder Hugo Chavez was mad up to the point that he pulled out from the CAN, regardless Evo's petition to not to. Brazil and Argentina are now in a difficult position (with Lula just re-elected and Kishner trying to recover his popularity, in both cases, depending tons on the support - economic and politic - of the middle class or its remanents), and it would have been bad to engage in a new initiative commanded by Evo and/or Hugo Chavez. Much of the discussions were held behind closed doors and, clearly, these bilateral meetings weren't easy (successful would others say).
Again, I am not trying to argue for the summit being a big hit but I don't is fair to loose sight of some of the problems that are affecting the relations between South American countries, which are the result of pervasive political strategies that are being exerted upon our countries (not trying to blame on the empire - that is business as usual for revolutionary wanna-bes - or play the conspiracy theorist here, but further analysis is not my aim here). Finally, I see where you are coming from when you say that is ironic to host a summit about integration when things are not good at home, but it is also necessary to consider that things didn't get so bad until people like Reyes Villa and others decided to take advantage of the media that was to be covering the event to spread an image of social inestability and social unrest... it was all orchestrated.

miguel (mabb) said...

Yes, I am not trying to blame it all on Morales, but just trying to elaborate on the Bolivian dimension. I left the international dimension out because of practical and time reasons.

However, I think Bolivia itself does not need the help of the media to spread an image of social chaos. It can take care of it itself. :-)