Cindy Wiesner, Directora Ejecutiva Grassroots Global Justice Alliance
A global embarrassment. A squandered opportunity. The headlines describe Biden’s failed Summit of the Americas (SOA), a convening meant for all the countries of the Americas and the Caribbean, yet pointedly excluded Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. This time though, instead of upholding the status quo of a United States-controlled event, the snub spectacularly backfired. Countries from the Global South stood up against oppressive U.S. imperialism and boycotted the summit, throwing the legitimacy of the SOA’s joint declaration into question. This rise of solidarity marks a new center of power in the Americas, one that forges a new path and refuses to bow to the U.S. agenda. Just one mile from the cavernously empty SOA conference rooms, more than 800 people from the Americas packed the People’s Summit for Democracy—a direct response to failed U.S. policy and propaganda. Gathering in solidarity without exclusions, people built relationships between countries, communities, and organizations, discussing real solutions to the problems faced in the hemisphere. Over three days, attendees at the People’s Summit, including video addresses from Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel and former Bolivian President Evo Morales, along with popular movement leaders from across the Americas, offered a vision for a healthier, more sustainable world, rooted in shared values of inclusion, justice, and liberation. Our voices uplifted solutions for the people, by the people: an end to militarism around the globe, a feminist, anti-racist, regenerative economy for all, a just transition from our extractive, fossil fuel-based systems to a new model that centers life and care. The neoliberal corporate-mongering and greenwashing policies of the United States have dragged us all into an abyss of ecological destruction, needless suffering in the pandemic from vaccine apartheid, criminalization of migration, attacks on bodily autonomy, and endless war. In vibrant contrast, attendees of the People’s Summit are part of a growing movement that prioritizes people over profit, advancing an agenda for community controlled renewable energy, healthcare, housing and education for all, restorative justice, migrant rights, and collective well-being. We must work together for a better and different future based on dignity, sovereignty, and justice. We are the only ones who can.