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and Caribbean Integration
THE CHALLENGES OF LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN INTEGRATION (5)
INTEGRATION, PROTECTION OF OUR FUTURE
The COVID 19 pandemic, the profound alterations experienced by the environment due to the actions of human beings, and the wars in Ukraine and the next one looming in China, have brought to light a paradigm shift in the relations between human beings.
In effect, the World Order established at the end of World War II imploded. It is clear that the planet will not be able to withstand this industrial maelstrom much longer, nor will it be possible to sustain the current structure based on poles of power. This will necessarily lead to the creation of a New World Order, and Latin American and Caribbean countries are obliged to take action to defend our interests.
The integration of our peoples thus emerges as the only way to achieve this objective. But this road is not an easy one to travel.
Certainly, the possibility of the integration process crystallizing and boosting the development of the region causes terror in the NATO countries as a whole, given the vital role currently played by our countries, both as suppliers of valuable raw materials and as demanders of the goods they produce, which takes on greater importance in view of the new realities imposed by the war in Ukraine and the interruption in the supply chain of raw materials.
Bear in mind that since the beginning of the 20th century, any country that tried to achieve development and prosperity was stopped, either by overthrowing or even assassinating progressive presidents, as was seen in Guatemala with Jacobo Arbenz, in Panama with Omar Torrijos, in Brazil with Joao Goulart and Dilma Rousseff, Juan Bosch in the Dominican Republic, Rómulo Gallegos and Marcos Pérez Jiménez in Venezuela, Jean-Bertrand Aristide in Haiti, Maurice Bishop in Jamaica, Juan Domingo Perón in Argentina, Salvador Allende in Chile, Juan José Torres in Peru, Fernando Lugo in Paraguay, Manuel Zelaya in Honduras, and so many other examples.
To which we should add the long list of assassinations and persecutions against progressive leaders, such as Juan Carlos Galán, Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, César Augusto Sandino, Lula Da Silva, Rafael Correa, etc., etc., etc. Therefore, it is foreseeable that, in view of the new realities that arise with mineral resources, attempts will be made to repeat events such as these. An example of this has been the recent attacks against the security of the President of Colombia, Gustavo Petro and the vice-president of Argentina, Cristina de Kirchner.
But these actions have not been limited to the scenario of violence. An example of this was the attempt to create regional watertight zones (Mercosur, Andean Community, etc.), in order to prevent a Latin American and Caribbean unity of action in the economic field, whose last attempt we saw recently with the meeting of Mercosur and the EU, in which Uruguay tried to reach agreements directly between these blocs, behind the backs of the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean.
At this point we believe that countries that really want regional integration should refrain from establishing individual trade agreements, while waiting for united action.
Now, all these behaviors have been made possible by the fact that they were carried out in isolated situations, which were not part of a solid regional political structure.
The most serious attempts to achieve it occurred at the beginning of this century, with the creation of CELAC and UNASUR, which have failed in the creation of an integrationist organization, a consequence of having pretended to build it, incorporating all the countries of the region under the principle of unanimity in their decisions, facilitating the work of those sectors opposed to the unity of our nations, remaining in the end only in mere words, as has happened with the fervent appeal made by the President of Mexico at the last meeting of Heads of State of CELAC. In reality, absolutely nothing has materialized.
Now, with the presence in power of progressive presidents, whose countries have a combined population of more than 300 million inhabitants, there are again favorable political conditions in the region to achieve such a necessary integration, which will be successful to the extent that the mistakes of the past are not repeated.
In our opinion, this integration process should take place on two levels:
THE POLITICAL LEVEL.
With an organic union of countries with very clear and precise goals, limited to the international sphere, without interference or doctrinal impositions among them, respecting the principle of self-determination of the peoples. Of course, with a minimum standard of democratic functioning, such as the universal and secret election of its rulers, to give an example.
This union of nations should promote the formation of a unipolar world, in which power is exercised and shared by all peoples, in a true United Nations Organization, democratic, effective and inclusive, the only way to articulate effective actions to achieve the eradication of wars, the effective fight against pandemics and stop climate change.
As a way to overcome this state of affairs, it has been proposed that the world that emerges should be multipolar.
We understand this multipolarity as the existence of different "poles" of power, in which one or more powers, grouped together, exercise dominion or control over another group of nations. The point is that, given the immense destructive power of nuclear weapons, these poles cannot impose themselves militarily on each other, as has happened historically, and the peripheral nations of these poles become the scenarios of the inevitable conflicts, bloody or otherwise, that will arise between the poles of power.
The existence of a multipolar world with those characteristics would be disastrous for our peoples, since that concept entails the danger that, in those nations sheltered by the umbrella of some pole of power, the development of democracy could regress with the possible establishment of dictatorial and corrupt regimes, as happened during the so-called "Cold War".
We understand that in order to achieve Latin American and Caribbean unity, it is necessary to set up an Ad Hoc organization, initially made up of those nations that share this idea, regardless of their number, to which, undoubtedly, other countries would join in view of the successes achieved. It should have its own headquarters to host not only the meetings of Heads of State or Foreign Ministers, but also the functional structure necessary to fulfill its objectives.
THE SOCIAL LEVEL.
This constitutes the integration itself, which should encompass cultural, scientific, economic and social areas. This is the only way to sustain and increase the integration process over time.
This is why the struggle for integration cannot fall solely on the political parties that support it today. It is essential to get the support of the majority of society, including all or most of the parties, institutions and cultural, scientific, research, popular, workers', peasants', business, etc. groups.
Among the areas to be developed, the issue of the economy is perhaps, at this time, the most pressing. The challenges in this regard are numerous and of significant magnitude, among which we can mention:
- Stopping the enormous capital flight in the region, which already reaches thousands of billions of dollars, which, had the same been invested in the production of local goods and services, our peoples would have achieved an enviable quality of life.
- Resolve the issue of external financing, whose mismanagement left huge debts that ended up becoming a heavy burden on the people and led to the erosion of sovereignty.
- Reverse the control by foreign companies of a substantial part of our economy, especially in the industrial sector.
It is imperative to address these challenges in a coordinated manner. There are many effective measures, but we must begin to articulate them, such as:
- Promoting the creation and strengthening of local capital companies and local recapitalization of profits.
- Allow foreign investment, only in areas of the economy where the necessary technology or capital is not available.
- Establish very clear criteria for external financing and create the Bank of the South.
- Deepen regional interdependence.
- Achieve full industrial development in the region, taking advantage of our natural resources.
- Develop an action plan to prevent the brain drain.
- Promote scientific and technological development, both public and private, with the establishment of joint goals.
Also, the recent tragic experience of COVID 19 with vaccines and other vital inputs, as well as the marginalization of our nations from scientific advances, imposes the need to achieve regional development in this area, impossible to achieve without joint action.
Another important aspect is that of interregional communication.
In Venezuela, for example, the cable companies have access to news channels from France, Spain, Italy, the United States, Germany, China, Russia, etc. in their programming grids, while those from our region are scarce, if any from Argentina or Mexico. To the point that the news we receive from our sister countries, we do so through the filter of transnational news agencies which, of course, are often manipulated.
In addition to the above, we see how many local private media depend on advertising revenues from large transnational corporations, opposed to an integration process, facing conflicts of interest in their daily dynamics.
On the social aspect, there is one point to which we must pay the utmost attention: nurturing our self-esteem, our respect for ourselves as a region.
It has already become a constant practice to disregard the sovereignty of our countries, not only with coups d'état nor with blatant interference in our internal affairs, but in countless fields; either by sequestering Venezuela's gold reserves in the United Kingdom; or by provoking delicate situations, as in the case of energy in Mexico; or by imposing "economic sanctions" as part of a war strategy; or by ignoring TIAR commitments in the case of the Malvinas; or by installing military bases throughout our region under the guise of advising; or by occupying Venezuelan aircrafts at the "request of the Venezuelan government"; either by ignoring the TIAR commitments in the case of the Malvinas; or by installing military bases throughout our region under the guise of consultancy; or by occupying Venezuelan aircrafts at the "request" of the FBI; or by extraditing nationals to the United States; or the recent "visit" of the Head of the Southern Command to Colombia, which seemed more like a "pass of review"; among many, many examples of how they intend to psychologically subjugate us.
In the face of these events, it is not a matter of burning foreign flags or uttering high-flown insults. It is simply a matter of achieving through facts, in a calm but firm manner, the respect that our peoples deserve, which will only be achieved with our continental unity.
We must take advantage of this extremely favorable moment in the region to begin to build Latin American and Caribbean unity. Our leaders must immediately assume this great responsibility that history has placed in their hands.
There is no time to lose.