Lots of stories/posts/tweets on the Summit of the Americas, mostly focusing on trivia. I thought I'd give my quick rundown on what's important and what's not.
- Low-profile talks on regional issues--energy, education, etc.--that don't necessarily result in big agreements but spark ongoing engagement. These are the bread and butter of why the U.S. isn't losing Latin America.
- The ability of the highest level Cuban and U.S. officials to talk in private in person, which will facilitate normalization of relations.
- The fact that even leftist governments are taking this summit seriously. For all the talk of imperialism, boycotts, etc. this summit--which was the brainchild of the United States--is something Latin American leaders want to attend.
- Whether Barack Obama and Raúl Castro shake hands. Or give fist bumps. Photo ops are overrated no matter their symbolism.
- The exact wording of any final declaration, if there is one. Evo Morales is mistaken when he says that declarations are the equivalent of unity.
- The Venezuelan crisis. For better or worse, this will be a lot of hot air, tied into clumsy U.S. policy. This doesn't mean the crisis itself isn't important, but that the summit won't likely be an effective forum for anyone.
- Rafael Correa, as one op-ed incorrectly claims. Though it might be weirdly entertaining to read his tweets.