The strategy of the Latin American dictators to perpetuate themselves in power has a familiar script.
First, convene a Constituent Assembly so that the elected president can be reelected for more periods or permanently and, at the same time, to adapt the new fundamental charter to the political objectives that he intends to achieve.
Under that umbrella they have governed in Cuba for 62 years; in Venezuela since 1999 and in Nicaragua, the tyrant Daniel Ortega has done it with blood and fire.
A second element of the script is to subdue the justice system. In this way they can freely repress opponents and guarantee impunity to those who commit crimes or violate human rights. Judges and prosecutors thus become puppets, salaried lackeys, accomplices in murders or misdeeds, receiving, in compensation, magnificent remuneration and economic privileges. And in the same line of domination are the Constitutional and Electoral courts, the Comptroller and Ombudsman; that is, all the autonomous powers that guarantee the functioning of a rule of law.
It is part of the toxic script to control the Armed and Police Forces, diverting them from their functions of guaranteeing national defense and internal security, to use them as political agents. In Nicaragua, Venezuela and Cuba, the uniformed men are ministers, ambassadors and high-ranking public officials, many of them involved in scandalous corruption.
There is a fourth component of the libretto: build a diplomatic platform to protect and/or spread an authoritarian model, through ad hoc organizations created for that purpose – read Celac, Grupo del Puebla or Alba -, and forging alliances between similar governments, as they have made Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba and Nicaragua.
The scheme is consolidated thanks to the “diplomatic solidarity” of governments that describe themselves as leftist. Alberto Fernández and López Obrador, presidents of Argentina and Mexico, are two exponents of this clumsily Manichaean sector.
In this context, the circle is completed when the region’s dictatorships agree with extra-continental powers – Iran, Russia and China – that provide them with economic resources and shield international organizations. In reciprocity, they have become owners of mines, oil and gas fields and, without a doubt, they have greater influence than the superpower of the hemisphere: North America.
The Summit of the Americas taking place in Los Angeles is therefore an opportunity to draw a clear line between democracies and dictatorships. The United States, the host country, did well not to invite the dictators of Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua, not only because they represent anti-democratic regimes, but also because their leaders are implicated in crimes against humanity.
It is preferable, without a doubt, to define and not zigzag diplomatically, a flabby path that leads to an implicit agreement of tolerance that reinforces totalitarian systems.
Now that President López Obrador has decided not to attend the Summit in the USA, we must remember that inviting an event is the power of the host country. This was the case when in 2018 Peru recalled the dictator Maduro from the Lima Summit. This, bravado, threatened to enter “by land, by sea or by air.” Of course he did not do it and his Bolivarian airs were blown away, just as the so-called Summit of the Peoples planned between Caracas and Havana will also be blown away.
I do not know, in truth, which of the summits Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard may have referred to when stating that the central issue will be “to end the blockade against Cuba,” according to the Granma newspaper, an interesting matter to debate as well as that they be convened democratic elections on the island governed by the Communist Party for 62 years and that dozens of Cuban citizens sentenced to up to 30 years in prison for demonstrating peacefully demanding better living conditions be released.