North-South relationship between the two American sub-continents has been not an easy one. Back from the “Big Stick” era there were just brief periods of good memories for Latin-americans: the JFK years and Jimmy Carter’s involvement with Human Rights records of the military dictatorships. The rule used to be a “chat between deaf partners”; one talking about Defense and Drugs while the others talking about development and fair trade.
The previous summit in Mar del Plata, Argentina showed the peak of these disagreements as G. W. Bush tried to engage his counterparts in the “war on terror” and the Free Trade agreement (while still subsidizing crops). The answer was a bitter refuse and a general feeling of failure.
All this has changed 180 degrees after Obama’s performance in Port-of-Spain due to his openess to hear (sometimes stoically) some awful trues –even though standing firm in his proposal to concentrate in the colaborative future more than in the failed past. He was able even to cope with the unpredictably attitudes of the colorful Chávez. The Eduardo Galeano’s book he recieved from the Venezuela’s president is a classic and informative report of the historical grievances many Latin-americans bear until today. All in all I can subscribe The Nation brief on the summit and its final balance:
Score one for diplomacy — and for Barack Obama’s efforts to make the United States part of a safer, saner, more functional world and undo the damage of the Bush years. And for Eduardo Galeano.