The foreign ministers at the 39th General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) in the Mara-infested city of San Pedro Sula, Honduras voted unanimously to lift Cuba’s 1962 suspension from the hemispheric organization.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton voted yes on a final resolution which included a weak caveat that refers to Cuba abiding by “practices, purposes and principles of the OAS.”
The ever-gracious Fidel Castro promptly trashed the vote, basically telling the foreign ministers who voted unanimously to facilitate Cuba’s return to the OAS to piss off.
Havana’s official position, at least while Fidel is still alive, is that Cuba has no interest in rejoining the OAS under any circumstances. In fact, Fidel believes the OAS should be abolished.
For once, Caracas Gringo agrees completely with Fidel Castro.
The OAS should be abolished, scrapped, terminated, erased… trundled off to the dustbin of irrevelant historical geopolitical artifacts.
The fact that OAS cocktail parties are always great fun, with lots of good music, dancing and Latino cuisine is no excuse for perpetuating its Dodo-like existence.
The OAS is a multilateral hemispheric group created in the brief period of uncertain global peace between the end of World War II and the start of the Cold War.
The OAS was created as part of a US-pushed geopolitical package deal offered to Latin American and Caribbean countries which included the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (aka hemispheric defense treaty or doctrine).
This hemispheric defense treaty was basically the 20th century Cold War version of the 19th Century Monroe Doctrine.
Theoretically, the OAS and the hemispheric defense treaty were one for all and all for one, but in practice they were used mainly by various US governments over the past several decades to justify interventions in the region.
Since the end of the Cold War two decades ago, there have been several halfhearted attempts to reinvent the OAS which never got anywhere, largely because the group’s putative leader and guiding force – the US – was basically clueless.
Under Cesar Gaviria, the OAS took a shot at election monitoring. The Inter-American Human Rights Commission (CIDH) has done a lof of good, if ineffectual work. The OAS also tried its hand at fostering job-intensive economic development (e.g. tourism).
In the first months of the George W. Bush administration, the US (with Hugo Chavez in mind) also promoted the OAS Democratic Charter, a multilateral instrument which supposedly was designed to give the OAS some teeth in terms of defending democracy in the region.
The OAS foreign ministers signed the Democratic Charter in Lima the morning of September 11, 2001. As soon as the Democratic Charter was signed, the OAS collectively turned its back on the democratic obligations and responsibilities imposed by the charter.
The OAS basically is an employment agency for citizens of all the Latin American and Caribbean nations (and Canada too). Staff jobs are divvied up internally by nationality quotas. Salaries are paid in tax-exempt US dollars, and the OAS health care and pension plans are excellent.
But what does the OAS do? Since Hugo Chavez arrived on the scene, with open checkbook in hand and crude oil freebies to practically the entire Caribbean and Central America and also to substantial parts of South America, most of the group’s members have happily served the Bolivarian revolution’s interests.
Good politicians never bite the hand which feeds them.
So the OAS votes to readmit Cuba to the group although the Cuban regime is tyrannical, over 90% of Cubans live in oppressed silent misery, and Fidel Castro tells the OAS it can go suck eggs for all he cares.
But nary a word from the OAS about the Chavez dictatorship in Venezuela, on the loss of democratic freedoms and private property rights, on the increasingly violent repression of the regime’s opponents by a corrupt judicial establishment, on the criminal violence which is expected to murder almost 20,000 people in 2009 if first quarter trends persist throughout the entire year.
It’s a matter of international public record that:
*President Chavez has strategic alliances with Colombia’s FARC which includes supplying the narco-terrorist group with up to $300 million in cash, weapons, food, medical supplies and international political support.
*The Chavez regime also has direct ties with the ELN.
*At least a dozen top FARC and ELN leaders currently are hiding in Venezuelan under assumed names, equipped with legally-issued documentation and executive protection services coordinated through the DGIM and Disip.
*The current heads of President Chavez’s military and political intelligence services (DGIM and Disip) are actively involved in providing protection services for Colombian drug shipments transiting through Venezuela, members of the FARC and ELN, and known Colombian drug traffickers.
*Italian and Israeli intelligence services have confirmed that state-owned commercial air carrier Conviasa helps Iran evade UN bans on trading technology and equipment for manufacturing missiles and nuclear weapons.
The list goes on substantially, but the above suffices to make our point:
President Hugo Chavez leads a dictatorial government which embraces close strategic alliances with narco-terrorist groups and rogue states which sponsor terrorism.
But not a word about this was heard at the 39th OAS General Assembly.
Fidel is absolutely right. The OAS is useless, irrelevant, anachronistic, a complete waste of taxpayer resources.
OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza must be delighted with the unanimously approved resolution on Cuba. Clearly he considers this a great personal legacy in an otherwise mediocre political career.
But the OAS resolution on Cuba is little more than collective political cowardice.
The OAS did not vote against a failed US embargo, though that’s how it’s being interpreted in some quarters. Time to repeal the Helms-Burton Act is already thrumming in some quarters of President Barack Obama’s Washington.
What all the OAS foreign ministers including Dame Hillary did was to turn their backs collectively on core democratic principles by offering Fidel Castro a fig leaf already spurned while deliberately and consciously ignoring the undemocratic, criminal and increasingly dictatorial day-to-day behavior of the thuggish Chavez regime.
Some readers may disagree with this view, arguing that it’s time for a change in US policy towards Cuba. However, this post isn’t about Cuba. It’s about the OAS, which showed in San Pedro Sula that Fidel Castro’s demands that the OAS be dissolved immediately are 100% on the mark.