Friday, April 10, 2015

Summit of the Americas Rundown

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.

Not Important:

  • 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.


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