Last week, the United States held the first virtual Summit for Democracy, but it seemed more like a meeting of allies of Washington.
This was a summit of allies and not Democrats. Photo: LatinAmerican Post
LatinAmerican Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández
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The White House recently held the Summit for Democracy, a virtual event that caused a stir across the continent. With notable absences from countries with authoritarian governments such as Venezuela or Cuba; but also with the non-invitation of others with presidents who cause suspicion in the international community, such as El Salvador. So far, one can understand ... they are subjective criteria, but logical.
However, since when has Bolivia been less democratic than Brazil? The same rod that was used with Bukele, must be used with Bolsonaro. And a government recently voted democratically by the majorities like that of Luis Arce in Bolivia is, without a doubt, synonymous with democracy on the continent. The same can be said of Guatemala and Honduras, full of corrupt governments, but with imperfect democracies, like many others in the region.
If the meeting was between allies of the United States, then give it an appropriate name. But a summit that ignores electoral and democratic processes that don't conform to the US hegemony and influence is a mistake.
But, additionally, does the United States have the authority to be classified as an overseer of democracies on the continent? Let's see one by one the reasons why the United States is not in a position to make lists of democratic countries at this time.
First, it is clear that the United States is one of the longest-lived modern democracies on the planet. The control organisms, the freedoms within the country, the transition of power, and the absence of coups d'état guarantee it. However, it is also a country that has historically interfered in Latin American democracies and supported coups throughout the planet.
In addition, and historically, the United States has supported countries that have nothing to do with democracy. For example, the absolute Monarchies of Saudi Arabia, Qatar or UAE; or dictators like Erdogan in Turkey. Washington does not dislike close relationships with authoritarian governments.
On the list, for example, there were the Philippines or Poland, where governments have had serious accusations of weakening internal democracies, attacks on minorities and accusations by human rights groups.
Additionally, today, American democracy is experiencing one of the most serious crises in recent history: Donald Trump and the Trumpism he has left behind.
Today, a large part of the alt-right has no credibility in their country. This was evidenced in criticism of the mass media, including Fox News, a traditionally conservative channel. These new platforms have spread political conspiracy theories, such as the QAnon, which was one of the causes of the seizure of the capitol last year, one of the events that put American democracy in check. According to Pew Research, in 2019, 69% of Americans distrusted the government and 61% distrusted the media.
This is a clear example of the crisis of democracy at the international level. But to solve it, the contribution of all democratic governments will be necessary, not just the ones we like. Because if this is how the summits will work, then it is not so much the concern for democracy, but for friendly governments.