In Monterrey, Latin America checks arrogance of Bush Latin America proved that it is not Washington's back garden and that US administrations can no longer practise policies of political and economic colonialism in the southern part of the continent.
The USA entered the summit from its habitual position of haughtiness and abrasiveness. To begin with, Cuba was not invited and George Bush wasted no time in launching a scathing attack on Fidel Castro's government. He forgot to mention Guantanamo, the Auschwitz-style concentration camp run by Washington in foreign lands.
This attack on Cuba set the tone of the summit, with several Latin American nations displaying their displeasure, given that they have excellent relations with Havana. These nations, whose citizens are free to choose whether they visit Cuba or not (unlike US citizens), enjoy a collective spirit of cooperation and mutual benefits, vocabulary which does not exist in Washington's diplomatic alphabet, which is reduced to four words: arrogance, bullying, chauvinism, demagogy.
Washington further poisoned the environment by trying to add a declaration in the closing statement that the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) would be concluded by 1st January, 2005, trying to bulldozer through its policies, riding roughshod over the other nations of the continent. The answer was a resounding No!
Brazil and Venezuela led the Latin American contingent of 34 countries in this summit to raise serious doubts as to whether Washington's model for FTAA will eliminate poverty and bring prosperity.
Venezuela's Hugo Chavez called for a "new moral architecture" that "favours the weakest", while Peru's Alejandro Toledo urged Washington to respect the free trade policies it preaches but does not practise, criticizing the refusal to lower agricultural subsidies.
Brazil's President Lula criticized the "rigid and inflexible policies" favoured by Washington, calling instead for flexibility and respect for national rights. "There is no political democracy without an economic and social democracy", he declared.
"Many conflicts and tensions nowadays take place in the international community in which the distribution of wealth is unjust and there is no opportunity for the poor countries to develop", said the Brazilian President.
Certainly not, while Washington preaches one policy in the World Trade Organization and then practices another, imposing subsidies, tariffs and quotas, practicing a protectionist and isolationist policy while proclaiming itself to be the champion of free trade to bring lasting prosperity to the world.
To the world? Or to Washington?