Hope is a theme of the BRICS summit

The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) summit recently concluded in Brazil, in July 2014, carries the hope of change awaited by many peoples denied their righteous place in the world community of nations. 

When Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa formed an economic bloc for developing the industrial capacity in the South/South region [also known as South America-Africa cooperation], the right to self-determination for many still remained a distant reality. 

Let U.S. recall that the awakening of Latin America in the wake of the victorious Cuban revolution of 1959 is a continual process of change.  State terrorism, military intervention, hotel bombings and an economic, commercial and financial chokehold underwritten by an extraterritorial Helms-Burton law (1996) fell short in the U.S. attempt to isolate Cuba.

Formation of a deep respect between Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez Frias based on the Bolivarian principles of mutual reciprocity and political independence catalyzed unexpected change.  By 2009, the Bolivarian Alliance of Latin America (ALBA) had solidified its reach to include Nicaragua, Bolivia. Venezuela, Ecuador, Uruguay, Dominica, Trinidad/Tobago, Cuba, St. Vincent, Antigua, though Honduras and Paraguay remain estranged from the group at this time.  In 2012, consolidation of 33 countries known as CELAC was achieved.  The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States referred to as the second independence of Latin America seeks liberation from imperial domination. 

The apparent outcome of these events is a fundamental shift toward a more equitable redistribution of wealth between North and South with the ultimate goal as socialization of the means of production to encourage social, economic and political equality.  A widening gap between rich and poor countries, depletion of natural resources, the climate change phenomena and unsustainable capitalist consumption that includes unending warfare also stokes this process.

Drawing the correct conclusions requires consideration of important realities certain to influence future events.  The United Nations has voted to condemn the U.S. blockade of Cuba since 1992, yet restrictions have intensified against Cuba.  Furthermore, ongoing military genocide launched by the ultra-right Israeli government against Palestinian civilians exposes U.S. foreign policy as both terrorist and expansionist.  Only through solidarity, good will and commitment by governments to honor international law can a resolution of this stalemate occur.

Several examples highlight a trend becoming more pronounced in Latin America.  Reforming the structure the UN was a strong priority of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez before his death in March 2013.  Later, BRICS partner Russia helped negotiate a solution to the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian civil war. China is overtaking the U.S. as an economic power and South American countries continue to integrate their economies by means of solidarity, cooperation, complementarity and unity mandated through the Bolivarian initiative of 2004. 

Strengthened by the Union of South American countries (UNASUR), BRICS/CELAC leadership envisions democratization of the United Nations as part of the new horizon that may precipitate greater accountability of U.S. foreign policy.  The signing of 38 agreements between China-Venezuela and 29 agreements between China-Cuba signals the possibility of a realignment toward multilateral relations previously unknown in the American continents.

The outcome of these events also support the struggle to force the U.S. to meet its obligations to justice while 3 innocent Cubans remain incarcerated for fighting against terrorism.  According to law, the remedy is to free Gerardo, Antonio and Ramon, and return them to their Cuban homeland. There is no valid reason to hold them.  A civilized world expects no less.

Photo: BRICS leaders in Brazil CC BY 3.0. Presidential Press and Information Office.




Richard Grassl
Richard Grassl

Richard Grassl is a member of the Carpenters union in Washington state.