Next June, the 9th Summit of the Americas (the Summit), will take place in Los Angeles bringing together leaders and stakeholders from the countries of North, South, Central America, and the Caribbean promoting cooperation, and inclusive economic growth based on shared democratic values.
But, we won’t be represented. Unfortunately, we barely pay attention to or make an effort to join such regional or hemisphere-wide gatherings. Our myopic decision-makers are simply too consumed with The Hague.
In an earlier article1, I mentioned some topics worth discussing with the U.S. and the region: climate change; pandemics; corresponding banks, and commerce. It’s timely since the U.S. intends to give its allies in Latin America, and the Caribbean, more attention. And, it’s expanding the U.S. Consulate (activities) in Curaçao. Disengaging allies has empowered China in our hemisphere and the U.S. knows it.
This is not the first time I’ve suggested being more engaged with our region. I recently approached a Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) to find out whether Curaçao is excluded from participation in the Summit because of its constitutional status.
He told me that whilst generally only full members of the Organization of American States (OAS) can participate in the Summit, non-independent states (like us) do have some level of participation through a relationship with an OAS observer country, in this case, the Netherlands. This doesn’t mean a seat at the Summit table but can provide some level of presence.
A second option is through the parallel civil society, and private sector (NGO) tracks that make up the Summit universe of activities.
It may be too late this time around, but Government and NGOs should follow up with the U.S. Consulate General and The Hague to look into possibilities to link up with these alternative participation methods. If not today, next time. The point is that we can’t afford to sit idly by when it comes to our region.
Colombo, Sri Lanka