The Summit of a Fragmented America

Last Friday, June 10, the Summit of the Americas ended and, beyond the agreements reached, the debate on the absence of leaders of some States in the region has prevailed. Unfortunately, the forum began fragmented due to the lack of consensus regarding the exclusion of certain countries, from the only space that convenes all the States of the continent. Mexico decided to go, but represented by Foreign Minister Ebrad, as a demonstration against said decision, a position that was joined by the president of Bolivia and Honduras. Likewise, countries like Guatemala and El Salvador had their own reasons for not attending. The first, due to the persecution of the prosecutor ratified by President Giammattei and the second, due to the state of emergency and the constant exchange of criticism between his government and that of the host State.

The results of the Summit reveal the weakening of the United States vis-à-vis the region. The neighboring country to the north seems to forget that it has worthy and sovereign States as interlocutors, pretending to make use of practices of yesteryear, in a regional and global context that has changed and in which its leadership does not seem to be enough to unilaterally impose its will. about the actions of their peers in the region. A few days before the start of the Summit, the official invitations had not even been sent.

The signing of a declaration that seeks a new system of shared responsibility in migratory matters, takes place without the presence of the leaders of the main expelling States of migrants in the continent, such as the countries of the Northern Triangle of Central America and Venezuela. During 2021, the majority of the 1.7 million people who were detained by the border patrol in the United States came from the Central American region, and it is estimated that in recent years, about 7 million people have left Venezuela.

Another issue that remains on the table is the apparent reconfiguration of relations and counterweights between states in the region, the role of the summit itself and the Organization of American States in the coming years. The Mexican foreign minister, in his last speech last Friday, mentioned that 20 of the 32 nations that spoke during the event, expressed their disagreement with the exclusion of some countries in the region. Likewise, together with the president of Argentina, he repeatedly criticized the role of the OAS, alluding to the organization’s influence in the coup in Bolivia.

Regarding the axis of migration, at least three commitments stand out. First, the increase in the number of visas and refuges granted in the different countries of the region, in a scenario in which the United States has implemented programs such as Remain in Mexico, which has left nearly 100,000 stranded in Mexican territory. migrants seeking refuge in their country. Second, the expansion of legal channels for migration, through temporary employment programs, initiatives that help both people in mobility and the destination countries that require their labor. Finally, the announcement of an investment of 1.9 million dollars by the United States, one of the pending promises that Vice President Kamala Harris made in various visits to the region and on which the Mexican government has insisted. However, unlike what Mexico expected, which was the support of the Youth Building the Future and Sembrando Vida programs in Central America, it will be about 30 companies and civil society organizations who will design and implement the actions to go to the causes of migration. Finally, little was addressed about the issue of migrant children, the most important concern that we share as a continent and that should be given the priority it deserves, since unaccompanied minors are the most vulnerable face of the migratory phenomenon in recent times.

*The author is an expert in migration and security, coordinator of Agenda Migrante and Red VIRAL.

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