Argentine President Alberto Fernandez Thursday delivered a controversial speech before the IX Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, California, which was anything but pleasing and obliging to the hosting country.
Among the issues addressed by Fernández were Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua excluded from the international gathering, in addition to the blockade against the Caribbean island, the unsustainable indebtedness granted by the IMF to his predecessor Mauricio Macri, sovereignty over the Falkland/Malvinas Islands and -above all- the unacceptable role of the Organization of American States (OAS) in the Bolivian coup d'état.
In his blunt message, Fernàndez also invited his US colleague Joseph Biden over to the next Celac summit in Buenos Aires in December and spoke in favor of a tax on windfall income.
I think we started off strong, the host president later said, as a way of defusing the moment, in his closing remarks. Despite some disagreements related to participation, on the substantive issues what I heard was unity and uniformity, Biden replied.
Argentina's Ambassador to Washington, Jorge Argüello, said that beyond words, the relationship with the United States is excellent; a bilateral relationship will never be affected if its interlocutors speak clearly, he insisted.
On his domestic front, the Executive has already sent the windfall tax bill to Congress.
We would definitely have wanted another Summit of the Americas. The silence of those absent challenges us. So that this does not happen again, I would like to state for the future that the fact of being the host country of the Summit does not grant the capacity to impose a 'right of admission' on the member countries of the continent, Fernández told attendees.
The central world has set financial rules that are evidently inequitable, he added. From the periphery in which we are placed, Latin America and the Caribbean watch with pain the suffering endured by brotherly peoples.
Cuba endures a blockade of more than six decades imposed in the years of the Cold War and Venezuela tolerates another one, while a pandemic that devastates humanity drags down with it millions of lives, the Argentine leader went on.
With measures of this type they seek to condition governments, but in reality they only hurt the people, he insisted.
Fernández also accused Biden of seizing the management of the Inter-American Development Bank, which historically was in Latin American hands. The actions of rapprochement with Cuba, in which Pope Francis mediated, which had meant progress achieved by the administration of Barack Obama, while you were vice president, were thwarted.
The OAS, if it wants to be respected and return to being the regional political platform for which it was created, must be restructured by immediately removing those who lead it, he also pointed out.
The Regional Development Bank, without further delay, has to return its governance to Latin America and the Caribbean. The IDB requires a capitalization process to have more and better means of financing, he also requested.
The intervention of Donald Trump's government before the International Monetary Fund was decisive in facilitating an unsustainable indebtedness in favor of an Argentine government in decline. He did it with the sole purpose of preventing what ended up being the electoral triumph of our political force. The entire Argentine people are suffering today because of such indecency, he underlined.
In the face of so much inequality, we must raise the need for progressive tax policies, even if the domestic elites present us as a danger to democratic quality, he also said.
The windfall income that the war delivered as a gift to large food, oil, and arms corporations must be taxed to improve income distribution, Fernández explained.
The Argentine head of state also pointed out that Latin American countries were environmental creditors, who contribute oxygen to the planet and we are not responsible for emitting the gases that cause the greenhouse effect.
We continue to claim through diplomatic channels the legitimate rights we have over our Malvinas Islands, Fernández insisted. He also highlighted the fact that the Falkland Islands were not included in the map that symbolizes the American continent.