Several events of related significance have marked the political landscape of Latin America and the Caribbean in recent days. First, the illegal armed invasion of the Mexican embassy in Ecuador to kidnap former vice-president Jorge Glas, who had requested political asylum there. Almost simultaneously, Laura Richardson, head of the US Southern Command, visited the southernmost tip of the continent, where the construction of a “joint” naval base was announced, enabling the installation of US armed forces on Argentine territory in the geostrategic space of the South Atlantic. All this is conveniently seasoned with Milei’s previous diatribes against the progressive presidents of Colombia and Mexico, calling them respectively “murderous terrorists” and “ignorant”.

Shortly before, Russian President Putin’s re-election, several regional right-wing leaders tried to delegitimize in a joint communiqué the congratulations expressed by Honduran President Xiomara Castro, in her capacity as president pro tempore of CELAC.

Added to this was a new onslaught of criticism of the government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, with the official announcement of 13 presidential candidacies for the 28 July election without the participation of Corina Yoris, the “muletto” candidate of the disqualified opposition candidate María Corina Machado. Criticisms found extensive echo in the discourse of the hegemonic media, structurally allied with the continental right, but also in some Latin American leaders such as Petro himself or Lula.

All this political engineering bears the unmistakable stamp of the US strategy in Latin America and the Caribbean: the demolition of the ties of cooperation and regional integration to regain geopolitical control.

The “dynamite” plan

The intention to create discord to generate disagreements between Latin American and Caribbean governments is nothing new. The meeting of the Lima Group (August 2017), whose main objective was to condemn the Bolivarian government and ignore the election of the National Constituent Assembly in Venezuela, the withdrawal of six countries governed by the right-wing from UNASUR (2018), which led to the paralysis of the South American integration organization, and the subsequent creation of the ghostly Forum for the Progress of the South (ProSur) at the initiative of Sebastián Piñera and Iván Duque, are full proof of this divisive inclination.

Brazil’s withdrawal from CELAC in January 2020 during the presidency of Jair Bolsonaro, the continued demonization of Cuba and Nicaragua by conservative figures, or the British-US support for the recent intensification of the dispute between Guyana and Venezuela over the Essequibo territory, are other examples that point in the same direction, that of preventing the strengthening of permanent and plural institutional ties of integration that challenge the primacy of the OAS in the region’s coercive diplomatic order.

Rulers are one thing; the people are another.

The democracy proclaimed by the liberal matrix has reduced the possibilities of effective self-determination of the people to unacceptable minimums. Periodic voting does not ensure that the sovereign will, even of majorities, is respected. Moreover, the small differences between the winning and losing votes, coupled with widespread abstentionism, do not reflect the political orientation of the population as a whole.

Added to all this degradation are the system’s tricks to block attempts at profound transformation. Media defamation in the hands of concentrated (mis)information companies, proscriptions, the construction of public opinion matrices, the “handpicked” selection of candidates, the extortive scam of the “second round” and even fraud at the ballot box or the subsequent vote counts, are just some of the multiple distortions grafted onto the system.

The resulting governments thus lack the credentials they claim, especially when the measures they take have nothing to do with the programs they campaigned on or the reasons for which they were elected.

A couple of examples: in the Argentine case, and in a very simplified way, the numerical majority that gave Javier Milei the victory was the product of an “angry vote” of a group of excluded people who believed that their social improvement would come from the worsening of the conditions of others. Likewise, this electoral victory was guaranteed by the voters of Macrismo – in which the once gallant radicalism was subsumed – whose visceral anti-Peronism consolidated the turn to the extreme right.

The Ecuadorian case is similar. Noboa, a native American from an affluent family, had the episode of the murder of another candidate (which, in the media, extended a blanket of suspicion towards Correístas), whose shock exalted the pre-existing state of citizen insecurity, displacing the severe issues of inequality and poverty with the demand for an iron fist as a presumed solution to crime.

Similarly, the fracture in the popular camp between progressivism and indigenism, as in the Argentine case, the aggregation of conservative forces in the vote dashed hopes of a change of course in the neoliberalism treacherously implanted in Lenin Moreno’s government.

Thus, the torpedoing of integration and collaboration between Latin American and Caribbean nations by these governments has nothing to do with popular interests, but with geopolitical strategies of imperial domination.

Such a strategy is extremely dangerous. It could lead to unbridled armament, to a general militarization of social conflict, and even to military confrontations, destroying the consensus reached at the Second Summit of CELAC, which proclaimed Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace.

Worse still, in the current context, such a course of action could jeopardize the landmark Tlatelolco Pact, by which the region has been free of the enormous danger posed by nuclear weapons for half a century.

The integration of peoples

Without detracting from the possibilities offered by inter-state institutional cooperation, the direction of Latin American and Caribbean unity must be marked by the growing integration of the peoples.

Integration in which the people can (and must) recover a real vocation of freedom to make decisions. In this process, the need for the emergence of a renewed democracy will become clear, including not only superstructural political aspects but also the multidimensional transformation of the system, far removed from predatory capitalism.

However, this decomposition of popular unity, today eroded by individualism and the dissolution of social ties, will require new paradigms and utopias that can be embodied in the new generations to take hold.

What will these images of the future be, what will be the golden threads that will make it possible to rebuild the weakened collective fabric of today’s world? How will the people move towards this new horizon?

Surely it will not be without leaving behind regressive elements historically embedded with violence in their innermost feelings, redefining and strengthening those that serve the new stage, and inserting new revolutionary humanist values.

Values that aim not only at the essential socio-economic equity and dignity but also at gender justice and reparation for the exploitation and segregation of Aboriginal and black cultures. Utopias that include the total repudiation of all forms of violence, that aim at human development and that, from a genuine and profound renewal of the spirit, help to pave the way towards social and personal reconciliation.