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… it is altogether fitting and proper…

21 February 2010

The first indigenous president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, will be offering a floral tribute at the Benito Juarez Monument, today in Mexico City.

It is “altogether fitting and proper” (to quote a contemporary of the Benimerito de las Americas) that Evo do this.  Juarez was the Americas’, and Morales Bolivia’s, first indigenous President, but more importantly, it was Juarez who was the world’s first “non-aligned nations” leader, wisely noting that among nations, as among neighbors, respect for the rights of others is the way to peace.  Redefined somewhat in the 1930s — and known also as the “Estrada Doctrine” — Juarez’ theory of international cooperation comes down to not sticking your nose into your neighbor’s business, unless asked, in which case, you RESPECTFULLY ask what they’d like you to do.

After his visit to Mexico City, Morales is headed for Cancún where the leaders from throughout the Americas are meeting to discuss a replacement, or redesign of the Rio Group, the cold-war era which subsumed smaller nations military and diplomatic interests to those of the United States.  The United States, Canada and Honduras (which had its membership in the Organization of American States suspended after the coup) were pointedly not invited to the cool kids club… but Cuban President Raul Castro will be present.

Mexico pulled out of the Rio Group when, as a member nation of the United Nations Security Council, it was pressured to break with its own diplomatic tradition of non-interference in foreign affairs (the Juarez, or Estrada, Doctrine) and support the U.S./British/Spanish invasion of Iraq.  U.S. and Canadian support for the Honduran regime — and the continued U.S. boycott of Cuba, as well as what is seen as an attempt by the United States to assume control of Haiti in wake of the recent earthquake — led the rest of the hemisphere to consider a new international body.

Tied to the meeting is a Caricom (Caribean community) summit, the clumsily named (for now) “Union of Latin America and the Caribbean Nations”: From Qué Es (my translation):

[The “Union of Latin America and the Caribbean Nations”] “has as its primary objective achieving  greater unity and coordination among countries of Americas — with the exception of the United States and Canada.  It will discuss the creation of a more flexible regional body, consistent with the existing Organization of the American States,” according to Patricia Espinoza, Mexican Foreign Secretary.

Brazilian leader Lula de Silva defends the new body operating  “without supervision” of the major powers …

Mexican President Felipe Calderon will support the new entity as bringing together current mechanisms for cooperation.

For his part, the president of El Salvador, Mauricio Funes, says the new group aims to advance a “strong action” among Latin America and the Caribbean.

The immigration issue will center the discussion with a proposal by Paraguayan President, Fernando Lugo, that the various nations  establish a coordinated mechanism to regulate migration.

The meeting could also serve the region for concrete new ways of assisting the reconstruction of Haiti, which would complement the $100 million U.S. dollar Partnership Fund  agreed earlier this month in Quito by the presidents of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR).

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