By Satyaki Chakraborty
Ten national governments of Latin America including a few left wing regimes are having discussions to evolve a common strategy in dealing with the economic issues facing the countries. Most of the countries are facing the problem of high prices of essential commodities and there are areas in the economy dominated by the multinational corporations.
The governments of these ten Latin American and Caribbean countries will meet in Havana on April 12 to discuss the best ways to jointly counter the scourge to their populations of the inflationary wave sweeping the world.
The meeting is convened by Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and will be attended by government representatives from Cuba, Brazil, Chile, Honduras, Argentina, Colombia, Bolivia, Belize, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines representing, in addition, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the host, Mexico.
Among the measures being considered are the exchange of foodstuffs, as also trade in food grains and raw materials. The governments will consider the measures needed for reducing the cost of production so that the impact of the price rise on the common people can be contained.
Discussions will focus on ways of shortening the distribution circuit, devising ways of circumventing or at least reducing the high cost of the exorbitant profits of the intermediary actors, especially large supermarket chains. Some of the countries are suffering from food shortages. Efforts will be made to ensure that these problems can be overcome through cooperation of the other states which are comfortable with food grains.
Significantly, the International Day of Peasant Struggles will be commemorated on April 17. The day will mark global mobilization to highlight and denounce the continued criminalization, oppression, and repression of peasants, farm workers, rural women, migrants, and Black and Indigenous communities around the world.
In the face of the advance of capital over territories that until recently were considered “marginal,” peasants, Indigenous peoples, and other rural inhabitants represent the main frontier of resistance against the hydro-agro-extractivism of transnational mega-corporations, says the text of the appeal issued by the coalition, which brings together 182 member organizations in 81 countries. The organisers of the International Day want the participants of the virtual meet on April 12 to recognize as food for all a the fundamental right.
There has been a sea change in Latin American political scene in the recent months. The decision announced by the Honduras Government last month recognizing the People’s Republic of China as the only China and snapping all diplomatic ties with Taiwan signals the emergence of independent foreign policy by the left wing regime elected only early last year after decades of domination by the pro- American political parties in the country. The decision has also enthused the other pink regimes of the continent which have been under US pressure and threats to opt for measures suiting the interests of the respective countries.
Honduras has ended its decades-long diplomatic relations with Taiwan in favour of ties with China, prompting Taipei to accuse Beijing of using “coercion and intimidation” to lure its few remaining allies. Taiwan which has been in a war of attrition with Communist China for the last two years, is jilted at this development as this might have its impact on some of the thirteen other countries who still maintain diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
The statement of the Honduras foreign was unambiguous. It said “the government of the People’s Republic of China is the only legitimate government that represents all of China, and Taiwan is an inseparable part of Chinese territory’. At a time when China is engaged in a confrontation with both Taiwan and its protector USA, this strong decision by the Honduras which belongs to the backyard of the United States and earlier considered as the US dominated zone, this action on the foreign policy front, has also given a jolt to the Biden administration.
China and Taiwan have been locked in a battle for diplomatic recognition since the two sides split amid civil war in 1949, with Beijing spending billions to win recognition for its “One China” policy. China views Taiwan as one of its provinces with no right to state-to-state ties, a view the elected government in Taipei strongly disputes.
Honduras’s ending of ties with Taiwan had been long expected after the Honduran foreign minister travelled to China last week and President Xiomara Castro said her government would start ties with Beijing. Shortly after Honduras’s announcement, China announced it was opening ties with Tegucigalpa. “China and Honduras just established diplomatic relations,” tweeted Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for the Chinese foreign ministry.
Taiwan still has ties with Belize, Guatemala and Paraguay in Latin America, and Vatican City. Most of its remaining partners are island nations in the Caribbean and South Pacific, along with Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland, in southern Africa. Despite China’s campaign of isolation, Taiwan retains informal ties with more than 100 other countries, most notably the United States. India recognized China soon after the communist regime took over in 1949 but the recent deteriorating relations between China and India have led India to improve trade relations with Taiwan.
The US State Department said while the Honduran action was a sovereign decision, it was important to note China “often makes promises in exchange for diplomatic recognition that ultimately remain unfulfilled”. “Regardless of Honduras’ decision, the United States will continue to deepen and expand our engagement with Taiwan,” it said in a statement.
As of now, many steps have been taken by the pink regimes in the Latin American region to collaborate among themselves to foster both political and economic relations. Mexico president Obrador and the Brazil president Lula are taking lead in giving a pro-people direction to the policies of the Latin American regimes. The Honduras Government’s action will only strengthen the process of building a strong independent Latin American region. (IPA Service)