Honduras will be at the center of the international media this week. The Central America nation is the seat of the 39th Organization of American States’ summit in San Pedro Sula.
Then it can be forecast which countries will get more attention: Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, United States, Iran and Israel. Surely it will be interested to know why Iran and Israel will get attention in the summit of the American states, but they did their appointment to this already.
The 7.1 magnitude earthquake that shook Honduras last week was like the prelude of the summit of the most important multinational body of the Western Hemisphere.
The Middle East comes to the Americas
The first novelty will be the presence of Israel in the summit. But it has been attracted by the interest of Iran in Latin American in the last years. Of course, it will be a diplomatic war to reduce such influence in the fearing that Iran takes new allies to develop weapons of mass destruction. Venezuela and Bolivia especially have been dealing with Iran and Israel has accused both South American nations of selling uranium to Tehran.
Danny Ayalon, the vice-minister of foreign affairs of Israel, will have his seat in the annual summit of OAS in Honduras with the aim to fight the influence of its troublesome neighbor in the Americas. To do this, Ayalon intends to meet diplomats from different Latin American nations, trying to improve relations with the region.
The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has been leaded an international campaign to stop Iran from developing a nuclear bomb, a conclusion that the government of Iran has denied always. By its part, president Magmud Ahmadinejad has declared several times that “Israel should be canceled from the map“, statements that have created tensions between both Middle East countries and rise the fear of the existence of weapons of mass destruction.
Tel Aviv has accused Venezuela and Bolivia of selling uranium to Tehran, according to an official declaration issued last week.
Venezuela expelled the Israeli ambassador in Caracas and condemned Israel for the military incursion to the Gaza Strip in January with the objective of break the power of Hamas. Tel Aviv accused also Caracas of supporting Hezbola and said that Iran is setting cells of that organization at the north of Venezuela and in the Margarita Island. The Israeli report concluded also that Venezuela has promoted the relations between Tehran and Bolivia to be another supporter of uranium for the nuclear program. La Paz has denied such statement and asked Tel Aviv to prove it.
Venezuela and Bolivia have stopped diplomatic relations with Israel and are getting near to Iran in commercial links. Both countries have openly demonstrated solidarity with the Palestinians and accused Israel.
Cuba is the other protagonist of OAS this year. The problem to be discussed is the end of the economical embargo to the island. The Caribbean country was suspended to participate in the Organization since 1962 during the summit of Punta de Este in Uruguay. In that time, the pressure was given by the then called “Cuban Missil Crises” and this is the first time that such body will discuss the possibility to end the resolution of the longest embargo to a Western nation. There is a general idea that the embargo should be ended, but the discussion over the issue can take its own way.
As such resolution was taken during the context of the cold war, present conditions can play their role in a favorable suspension of the embargo, according with observers from the 34 member countries of OAS.
However, some countries like Venezuela and Nicaragua are proposing the derogation of the 1964 resolution as an act of justice and historical rectification with Cuba. Such perspective could be refused by other members that considered enough evidences of the responsibility of Cuba when Russia intended to put nuclear missiles in its territory in the middle of global tensions with USA. But countries like US consider that the such decision should come from a dialogue with La Habana.
Cuba itself has declared that it is not interested in joining OAS and even it proposes its extinction, other factor that would play a role at the moment of any possible voting in the end of the embargo when US has declared that would be favorable to the end of the resolution only if Cuba will join the principles and values of democracy and human rights of the OAS. This, then, will be the main point of discussion, when members like Venezuela surely will play their side in the defense of the Cuban interests and positions.
Revision of the anti-drug strategy in the Americas
The Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) of OAS, opened Wednesday a review process of the anti-drug strategy in the Americas. The proposal came from José Miguel Insulza in the aim to reduce the demand of drugs in the western hemisphere.
To this regard he said:
“The time has come for us to start reviewing our instruments and get them up to date with realities that the drug phenomenon imposes on us nowadays”
In 1996 OAS approved its anti-drug strategy. In 1998 was introduced its plan of action in a time that, for example, Colombia was under the reign of terror caused by drug mafia cartels.
At the present time, drug trafficking organizations have increased power, while consume has grown in several countries. The Secretary General of OAS concluded that it is needed reforms in the strategy.
Recently, the drug czar of the United Nations, Antonio María Costa, received critics from many organizations, especially NGOs concern with the problem of drug consume in the world, for his defense of the current UN strategies in fighting drugs, while the number of consumers have grown in last years to an amazing number of 208 million that made the 4.9 percent of the world population.
Maybe Insulza is going a little farther than Costa, when he stresses also in the demand side:
“As long as there is a market for drugs, they will keep flowing. And reducing demand is only possible with much more emphasis on education, prevention and rehabilitation programs.”
This position, well designed by consumer countries like Colombia (see the international campaigns of Colombian vice-president Francisco Santos “Share Responsability”), suggest “that a drug addict person is ill”, and that “the drug problem is still a shared responsibility” for “all countries in the world, ours among them.”
However, as in the discussion with UN’s Costa, the proposal designed by many scholars of the problem on decriminalize drugs as a solution, has been contemplating as a “possible certain option“. Time to read the report “The Drug Trade and the American Criminal Justice System” (Boston, 2004, Pearson Custom Publishing, ISBN 0-536-96744-X) and its review on the “Drug War”.