The People’s Summit for Democracy offers a progressive vision to counter US dominance in the region / by Sheila Xiao, Manolo De Los Santos

Coalition organizations from the People’s Summit for Democracy marched on May Day in Los Angeles, California.

Parallel to the exclusionary Summit of the Americas organized by the Biden Administration, people’s movements and organizations have organized the People’s Summit for Democracy to uplift diverse voices from across the region and engage in necessary dialogue

In a recent interview, Brian Nichols, the US assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, was asked the question that is on everyone’s mind ahead of the June 2022 Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, California: Will three particular countries in Latin America (Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua) be invited? Nichols responded with neither hesitation nor equivocation that the answer was no. Speaking on behalf of President Joe Biden, he further added that countries whose “actions do not respect democracy”—as the US government views these three countries and others like them—“will not receive invitations.” Nichols’ seemingly offhand comment, said with the usual arrogance of US officials and calling the three countries “regime[s that] do not respect [democracy],” sent a shockwave through the region that the US was likely not expecting.

Throughout Latin America, the reaction was immediate. Leaders such as Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Bolivian President Luis Arce, and Honduran President Xiomara Castro, as well as several heads of state from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) including Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne and Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Keith Rowley, all expressed that they would not participate in the summit if the exclusions of Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua were maintained. CARICOM has called for a summit that ensures “the participation of all countries of the hemisphere.”

Biden’s insistence on continuing the US policy of exclusion and aggression against Latin America has made his summit a failure before it has even begun. Mired in controversy and criticism, the Biden administration has not been able to build consensus around any common agenda because of the double standards it creates.

While the US may have already moved on, the memories of recent coups and interventionist plots by the US government in the region are still fresh. The US and the Organization of American States (OAS) both helped engineer a coup in Bolivia in 2019 that overthrew a democratically elected government.

There is no Americas without Cuba

The summit since its inception has been met with skepticism by progressives across Latin America due to the outsized or, more accurately, domineering role played by the US and the OAS with regard to invitations, agenda, and vision. However, this year the US seems to have underestimated the important political shifts in the region and their impact on the political legitimacy of the US

The US does not seem to have anticipated any challenges to its leadership of the summit, but the pushback against US hegemony comes as no surprise to most Latin Americans and those around the world who have been following the region’s politics of late. Since the last summit in 2018, the political map has undergone radical transformations. Not only are progressive governments outnumbering reactionary ones across the region, but many of them emerged precisely out of a deep rejection of US-backed governments and policies, and the conditions that they create for the people.

Across the region, countries whose public sectors were undermined for decades by US- and IMF-imposed neoliberal policies saw their societies and economies devastated during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the extreme poverty rate in the region rose from 13.1 percent in 2020 to 13.8 percent in 2021, representing a setback of 27 years. At more than 2.7 million deaths from COVID-19, the Americas represent 43.6 percent of global COVID-19 deaths despite constituting only 12 percent of the world population.

The outliers in this general trend of economic crisis and humanitarian emergency were Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, which suffered some of the lowest rates of deaths from COVID-19 in the region and the world due to their comprehensive strategies of, above all else, putting the health and well-being of their citizens before profits.

This policy extended beyond their national borders. From as early as March 2020, Cuba was already sending medical brigades to countries across the region and the world to support their responses to COVID-19. With Cuba’s development of five vaccines against COVID-19, the country has worked closely with other global south countries to distribute vaccine science and technology to promote localized production and distribution; meanwhile, US pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies like Pfizer and Moderna were turning record profits. At the height of the pandemic in Brazil, Venezuela sent oxygen to the city of Manaus, which had run out of the vital supply despite pleading for federal aid from the Brazilian government under President Jair Bolsonaro.

It has become glaringly clear that countries in the region have everything to gain from maintaining cooperation and partnerships with the countries the US declares to be its enemies.

Democracy for whom?

The US excuses its aggressive policy against Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua by citing these countries’ alleged human rights violations and the so-called threats that these countries pose to democracy.

However, many have started to question what kind of democracy exists in a country where 1 million people have died from COVID-19, 2.2 million people are in prison (accounting for more than 20 percent of the world prison population), where police kill an average of three people a day (with Black people being 2.9 times more likely to be killed by police than white people), and where $801 billion is spent on the military (the US makes up 38 percent of global military spending).

The majority of people in the Americas have rejected this hypocritical moral high ground and the premise that the US has the right to decide who participates in what forum and with whom. This is why a coalition of more than 100 organizations from across the region have come together to organize the People’s Summit for Democracy to counter the improperly named “Summit of the Americas.”

The People’s Summit carries forward the legacy of movements against neoliberal capitalism and US imperialism that have organized counter-summits every time the US organizes its Summit of the Americas. The People’s Summit will be held in Los Angeles, California, on June 8-10, and seeks to bring together the voices of people whom the US would prefer to silence and exclude. Immigrant organizers in Los Angeles will take the stage with landless rural workers from Brazil to discuss their visions of democracy for all. Feminist organizers from Argentina to New York will share strategies of how to fight for abortion access and counter the reactionary right-wing attacks on women and LGBTQ people.

These unprecedented times call for more cooperation and less exclusion. While unfortunately the US government also denied the visas of a 23-person delegation of Cuban civil society to the People’s Summit, the bonds between the Cuban people and the people of the Americas are unbreakable, and despite their best efforts, the US cannot silence the aspirations of the people.

For the Americas, which are on the cusp of transformative times, the age of the Monroe Doctrine is over.

This article was produced by Globetrotter.

Sheila Xiao is a researcher and community organizer. She is chair of the Los Angeles chapter of the ANSWER Coalition and the co-founder of the peace organization Pivot to Peace. She is a co-coordinator of the People’s Summit for Democracy.

Manolo De Los Santos is the co-executive director of the People’s Forum and is a researcher at Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research. He co-edited, most recently, Viviremos: Venezuela vs. Hybrid War (LeftWord Books/1804 Books, 2020) and Comrade of the Revolution: Selected Speeches of Fidel Castro (LeftWord Books/1804 Books, 2021). He is a co-coordinator of the People’s Summit for Democracy.

People’s Dispatch, May 26, 2022,

Communists demand ouster of US military and NATO from Turkey / by People’s Dispatch

Anti-NATO march to the Incirlik Airbase in Adana, Turkey. (Photo: via TKP)

On Sunday, May 15, activists from the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP) and Communist Youth of Turkey (TKP) organized a protest in Adana, demanding the ouster of NATO and the US military from the Incirlik air base in the city. The protest march was blocked by riot police before it reached the air base. The protesters asserted that they will not leave Turkey to imperialists and colonizers. From May 12 to May 15, the TKP organized anti-imperialist meetings in the cities of Istanbul, Antalya, Ankara and Adana, in which delegates from the leadership of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) also participated.

Turkey has been a member of the NATO alliance since 1952. Turkey serves as NATO’s eastern anchor with reportedly around 24 operational facilities of NATO and the US military. The Incirlik base, located east of Adana, is an important regional logistical air base of the alliance. The Izmir air station (oldest NATO base in Turkey), Sile air base, Konya base, Balikesir air base, the NATO facility in Ankara, Combined Air Operations Center-6 (CAOC-6) in Eskisehir, NATO’s Air Component Command Headquarters in Izmir, and NATO’s Rapid Deployable Corps-headquarters in Istanbul are some of the military bases in Turkey which facilitate NATO-US operations in the region. Progressive sections across the world, including in Turkey, hold NATO responsible for the escalation of the Russia-Ukraine conflict into a full-fledged war.

In its statement following the anti-NATO march on May 15, the TKG said, “We will continue the struggle for anti-imperialism, patriotism and enlightenment, we will disrupt the dirty bargains of imperialism and we will establish an independent, secular, socialist Turkey.”

Earlier in February, on the occasion of the seventieth anniversary of the accession of Turkey and Greece to NATO, the TKP and KKE issued a joint statement saying, “we are consolidating our common struggle against imperialist wars, against NATO and its plans, against capitalist barbarism, and for a socialist-communist society.”

Currently, Turkey and Greece are engaged in rivalry for dominance in the Eastern Mediterranean. They are at loggerheads over the Turkish occupation of Northern Cyprus and the issue of the flow of refugees from Turkey to the Aegean islands of Greece. The communists and other progressive sections in both the countries have warned on multiple occasions that NATO has been using the conflict situation in the region for further militarization of the region.

People’s Dispatch, May 17, 2022,

Cuba describes easing of US sanctions as “a limited step in the right direction” / by People’s Dispatch

US President Joe Biden has finally announced the easing of some of the 243 sanctions imposed on Cuba by former President Trump

On May 16, the government of US President Joe Biden announced the easing of some of the sanctions imposed on Cuba by former President Donald Trump. The measures include the elimination of the $1,000 limit on family remittances, speeding up the processing of US visas for Cuban citizens, resumption of regular and charter flights to Cuban provinces, and adjustments to the regulations governing transactions with the non-state sector.

The Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MINREX) described the US government’s announcement as “a limited step in the right direction.” 

“Today, the government of the United States announced several measures, which are positive but of a very limited scope,” said the Ministry in a statement.

The MINREX acknowledged that the measures “identify some of the promises made by President Biden during the 2022 election campaign to alleviate the inhumane decisions adopted by President Trump’s administration, which tightened the blockade to unprecedented levels and increased the ‘maximum pressure’ policy applied ever since against our country.” Nevertheless, the Ministry said, “these announcements in no way modify the blockade or the main measures of economic siege adopted by Trump, such as the lists of Cuban entities subject to additional coercive measures; nor do they eliminate traveling restrictions for US citizens.”

The Cuban foreign affairs ministry also criticized the Biden administration for not reversing “the arbitrary and fraudulent inclusion of Cuba in the State Department list of countries that allegedly sponsor terrorism,” pointing out that this inclusion is “one of the main causes for the difficulties Cuba comes up against in its commercial and financial transactions in many parts of the world” in recent years.

Despite the shortcomings, the MINREX stated that “this is a limited step in the right direction, a response to the denunciations made by the Cuban people and government. It is also a response to the claims made by the US society and the Cubans residing in that country. This has been a demand by the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States and virtually all members of the United Nations, expressed in the overwhelming vote against the blockade.”

Read more: The world says no to the blockade of Cuba

The Ministry also reiterated the Cuban government’s willingness “to establish a respectful dialogue, on an equal footing, with the government of the United States, based on the UN Charter, without any interference in the internal affairs of States and with full respect for independence and sovereignty.”

According to the Ministry, “in taking these steps, the State Department uses an openly hostile language, accompanied by traditional slanders and new fallacies…which show that neither the goals pursued by the US policy against Cuba nor its main instruments have changed,” and stressed that “understanding the true dimension of this announcement would require waiting for the publication of the regulations the will be implemented.”

During his four years in office, Trump imposed 243 unilateral coercive measures on Cuba to intensify the economic, commercial and financial blockade that the United States has imposed on the Caribbean nation for more than six decades. The blockade has inflicted serious economic and social losses on Cuba, and has severely affected the development of the country and its people. According to an official report, the damages caused due to the blockade in the past 60 years amount to around $150,000 million. Meanwhile, the humanitarian damage, suffering and resource shortages inflicted upon Cuban families by the blockade are immeasurable.

People’s Dispatch, May 17, 2022,