Nicaragua’s La Prensa understands why dictatorships like the one in Cuba have no place in supposed democratic forums such as the Summit of the Americas.
‘Democrats’ who want to be like Fidel Castro
According to U.S. Republican Senator Marco Rubio, the failure of the Sixth Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia last weekend was due to a mistaken intent to “contaminate a summit of democrats with a dictatorship.” In Cartagena, Rubio gave this explanation to the Voice of America, citing the pressure exerted by almost all Latin American and Caribbean governments for totalitarian Cuba to be invited to the Summit of the Americas, even if the meeting is reserved for democratic governments elected by the people.
The U.S. senator of Cuban descent said that his country has “the greatest respect” for the governments advocating Cuba’s inclusion at Americas Summits, but he reiterated that the U.S. would not abandon its, “commitment to democracy in this region and the world,” and instead called upon all Latin American and Caribbean governments to, “commit themselves to democracy and not to support tyrannies or dictatorships.”
Of course, none of the governments will listen to Rubio’s plea, first because not all of them are democratic. Election by popular vote does not turn autocratic rulers into democrats; even less so if the election was a fraud as in the case of Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua. Furthermore, to be democratic, a ruler must not only be elected by the people in a free and fair election, but must govern according to the rules established in the Inter-American Democratic Charter of the Organization of American States.
Regrettably, more and more Latin American presidents don’t care about complying with the Charter, although it was adopted in 2001 with commitments from all governments. In this regard, the comments of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to journalist Andrés Oppenheimer take on added significance: “Washington and the countries of Latin America should discuss and perhaps reevaluate their definitions on subjects like freedom of press, free elections and democracy.” This was mentioned in the global journalist’s column last Saturday in the pages of La Prensa.
Is this just a cynical interim position, or deep down, do these governments view “democracy” covetously, wishing to have the absolute power that the dictators in Cuba hold in their hands? Or perhaps, giving them the benefit of doubt, is this a strategy to move Cuba’s communist dictatorship, little-by-little, toward freedom and democracy?
But communism is incompatible with democracy and is therefore beyond reform. This is something enlightened right-of-center “democrats” who govern several Latin American countries, and who shamelessly propose “reevaluating” and relativizing the institutions, norms and values of democracy and freedom, should know.