CELAC: A Washington-Controlled OAS Alternative - by Stephen Lendman
Latin America is gradually disengaging from US hegemony.
On February 23, 2010, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States was established at the Rio Group-Caribbean Community Unity Summit in Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico.
CELAC comprises 33 regional countries. America and Canada are excluded. In July 2010, Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and Chile's Sebastian Pinera were chosen co-chairs to help draft organizational statutes.
CELAC calls itself "a nonprofit institution, established for critical analysis, design and management of the structural, political, cultural, economic and social factors that affect the various Latin American countries and Caribbean, as well as to their impact on the respective national societies, as in the hemispheric or universal joint."
"Its focus is on finding the best solution in the framework of respect for human rights, the democratic exercise, the overall progress, peace and peaceful coexistence and international levels."
To what degree fulfillment matches promises remains to be seen. On December 2, Time magazine writer Tim Padgett headlined, "Latin America's CELAC Summit: A Definitive Rejection of the US?" saying:
"....(I)n reality there's little revolutionary about CELAC." It's more symbolic than real, he believes. Nonetheless, member states "talk about (it) supplanting the Organization of American States (OAS), a body which Latin America has long regarded as Washington's lackey...."
Headquartered in Washington, the OAS was founded in April 1948. Its members include 35 countries. In deference to US interests, its history is long and shameful. Chartered to "promote democratic institutions," it defiled them for decades.
Its leaders included father and son Duvalier in Haiti, fascist Rios Montt in Guatemala, Pinochet in Chile, an array of Mexican despots, Fujimori and others like him in Peru, Somoza in Nicaragua, Batista in Cuba, and other death squad rulers in Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, Honduras, El Salvador and elsewhere in the region.
Calling "combat(ting) terrorism" one of its main missions, it practiced state terrorism instead. Repression characterized earlier decades and continues in some nations today. Washington played a dominant role influencing it, including through financial, military, and other material aid.
Writing in Granma Internacional in May 2009, Editor Oscar Sanchez Serra said:
Throughout its history, the OAS "made democracies ungovernable, turned them into dictatorships, and when they were no longer useful, reconverted them into even more diminished and servile democracies, because in the new, neoliberal era, with transnationalized oligarch(ic) capital, they were part of a much more sophisticated power structure, whose bases were not necessarily located in the presidential palaces or parliaments, but in continental corporations."
OAS nations had decades of "involvement with death, genocide and lies for (it) to survive these times. It is a political corpse and should be buried as soon as possible....The reality is, without the OAS, the United States would lose one of its principle political/legal instruments of hegemonic control over the Western Hemisphere."