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Column 042009 Brewer

Monday, April 20, 2009

Are the Americas Facing a Climate of Deceit?

By Jerry Brewer

The Fifth Summit of the Americas must ultimately gain proactive
ground that is solidified in unity and commitment by the
democratic nations throughout the Americas. The Fourth
Summit, in Argentina in November of 2005, grotesquely
highlighted the ranting, raving, and insults of the democratically
elected and grand political illusionist of Venezuela, President
Hugo Chavez.

The summit in Argentina had proposed a united theme that
called for the strengthening of democratic governance, as well
as the critical agenda of creating jobs and fighting poverty.
Instead, Chavez as antagonist promoted a virtual stage of
smoke and mirrors, and a lot of sleight of hand. The subtext for
the summit was tension between the United States and
Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez. Chavez previously denounced the
U.S. as a terrorist state, as he promoted Fidel Castro and Cuba
as heroes to emulate.

Even legendary Che Guevara got center stage in the media as
former soccer star Diego Maradona, sporting a tattoo on his
right arm of the revolutionary Guevara, praised former Cuban
President Fidel Castro as a god. As well, Bolivia’s leftwing
presidential candidate at the time, Evo Morales, pledged to join
Maradona for a parallel event. This became a so-called
“Peoples Summit” of leftist activists who sported flags and
images of Che Guevara. Communist-run Cuba, an adversary of
the U.S. for more than four decades, was then as now the only
country in the hemisphere not invited to the Summit.

Cuba's leaders have announced that they would be receptive to
open talks with the United States about "everything," including
political prisoners,” thus indicating a possible softening of the
communist island's stance. Too, President Raul Castro stated
that “we are willing to discuss everything, whenever they want."
These statements should come as a blessing to peace loving
democratically-elected leaders throughout the Americas.

In the face of decades of deceit and illusion by the communist
nation that promoted insurgency and terrorism throughout
Central America and Africa, nations should remain cautious and
request continuity of word. No one, including the U.S., should
lose focus on the importance of commitment and proposed
integrity of Castro’s statements. Too, press freedom and
human rights must be mainstays throughout this dialogue.

So the question remains, could five decades of tumultuous
leadership by Fidel Castro culminate in freedoms for the Cuban

However these are clearly not agenda items of the Chavez
administration in Venezuela. An interesting result of this
dialogue on concessions in democratic values will also be the
continued strong Cuban relationship with Venezuela under the
Chavez and Raul Castro regimes.

President Barack Obama has proposed the lifting of travel
restrictions on Cuban Americans' going to the island. President
Obama’s quasi-conciliatory gestures were prefaced with
statements of U.S. failures to engage neighboring countries,
U.S. distracted priorities, and a need to renew partnerships.

As for Cuba, leaders there consider many of the U.S. agenda
items for continuity in easing diplomatic relations “domestic

President Chavez was quick to attempt his usual subterfuge
from the real issues facing the Americas, indicating that
Venezuela will vote against the declaration of the Summit of the
Americas in a gesture of protest against the United States.
This, certainly, being part of a power play in order to challenge
the new U.S. president's indoctrination into his version of Latin
American politics.

The socialist leader ridiculed the U.S. by stating that there was
more democracy in Cuba than in the U.S. These statements
are clearly indicative of the deceit and illusion of Chavez’s
leadership of Venezuela, after stating a desire for better
relations with the U.S. His unity and desire for shared values
with his Latin American neighbors also comes into question, as
well as his sincerity, as he proposes that this summit become
the “last of its kind.”

A concern for U.S. interests in Latin America will become an
issue following the summit in Port of Spain. Will the leftwing
supporters of Chavez shortly reveal their continued propensity
for anti-American rhetoric and related subterfuge?

Many of the critical issues facing the Americas continue, such
as confronting inequality, social development, and poverty, as
well as possibly the greatest challenges of all – confronting
organized crime and violence, and the respect for life and
human rights.

For those democratic leaders who came to this summit for the
sake of humanity, and for the common good of Latin America,
kudos are enthusiastically offered.

To those who came to sabotage, with misrepresentation and
hidden agendas – you have again offered Latin Americas great
and continued misery and the lack of hope.

Jerry Brewer is C.E.O. of Criminal Justice International
Associates, a global risk mitigation firm headquartered in Miami,
Florida. His website is located at