The Summit of the Americas is principally organized by the Organization of American States, a body based in Washington and long dominated by the United States.
The OAS has a checkered past and was labeled a “Trojan horse” of U.S. foreign policy by Fidel Castro. But with growing unity and independence among Latin American nations and a new OAS secretary-general, there is hope the body could become more representative of the needs of the 900 million citizens in the Americas it claims to represent.
Analysis: The OAS at a Turning Point?
The Summit of the Americas will be the first headed by newly elected OAS Secretary-General Luis Almagro, who served as Uruguay's foreign minister under progressive President Jose Mujica (2010-2015).
Almagro's accomplishments as foreign minister include the negotiation of a deal with the United States to free a group of six Guantanamo Bay prisoners, whom Uruguay volunteered to receive. He was also a key intermediary in the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba.
Almagro's election could be a turning point for the regional body, which – as Almagro himself says – has lost much credibility in recent years, with alternative bodies of Latin American unity gaining greater relevancy. In his first remarks after being elected head of the OAS, Almagro vowed to make significant changes to the OAS and to revitalize the institution. “Together we can give the OAS the credibility that everyone demands.”
Will the Summit of the Americas represent a weakening of the long U.S.. domination of the OAS and see it make a step towards being a true hemispheric body - or will the influence of the region’s superpower, the USA, continue to hold sway?
Read more here
Interview: Mark Weisbrot on Key Issues for the Summit
Mark Weisbrot is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research and a highly regarded analyst on Latin America's relations with the United States. In this exclusive interview with teleSUR he looks at the changing role of the United States in the Western Hemisphere and what that means for the summit.
Interview: Julia Buxton on Obama’s failure to Radically Change US Policy in Latin America
The Summit of the Americas is one of the few regional forums where the US is still included. This week’s will be the last one attended by Obama. There was some hope at the beginning of his presidency of a changed US approach to the region, Latin American expert Dr Julia Buxton looks at how this has not materialised.
Interview: Grace Livingstone on US Historic Domination of the OAS
teleSUR explores whether the OAS, historically dominated by the U.S., is finally meeting the needs of Latin America in this interview with Grace Livingstone, author of America's Backyard: The United States and Latin America from the Monroe Doctrine to the War on Terror.
Interview: William Robinson on the Summit of the Americas and Capitalism
William Robinson is Professor of Sociology at the University of California Santa Barbara and an expert on Latin America, regional integration and globalization. In this exclusive interview with teleSUR, Prof. Robinson talks about the role of the Summit of the Americas in pushing neoliberal capitalism in Latin America.
Opinion: Obama’s Legacy Set to Fail in Latin America
Cuba will be attending its first Summit of the Americas after being excluded from the OAS for nearly 50 years after Fidel Castro and Che Guevara defeated pro-U.S. dictator Batista in 1959.
But while Obama has opened the door to better relations with Cuba, admitting Washington’s half century of failed foreign policy towards the island, he appears to have shut it on Venezuela with his recent labeling of the nation as a security threat.
Award winning author Eva Golinger looks at why the U.S. attitude to Venezuela will fail just as spectacularly as it did on Cuba. Read more here
In Pictures: A History of the OAS
Analysis: Alternative Forums
Nearly 2,000 representatives of Latin American social movements are expected at an alternative summit in Panama this week where North, Central and South American nations are meeting as part of the Summit of the Americas.
teleSUR hears from one of the attendees about some of the key issues social movements will prioritise. Read more here.
Meanwhile, forums for the business community, youth, and civil society are also taking place. In particular, hundreds of civil society leaders from across the region are gathering in Panama City, April 8-10, for the Civil Society Forum, to address themes such as democratic governance, security and citizen participation. However, the meeting, which takes place just before the start of the Summit of the Americas, has come under sharp criticism for blocking individuals, particularly from the Cuban delegation, from participating. Read more here.
Voices from the People's Summit
Ahead of the Americas Summit and the parallel People's Summit, teleSUR English interviewed some of the delegates and organizers of social movements in Panama. Read it here
New Regional Bloc’s Challenge the OAS
While the OAS is still the largest regional bloc, other bodies, created in the last twenty years, have eaten away at its significance as Latin American and Caribbean countries strengthen ties.
Latest News from the Summit
Obama: There are Dark Chapters in Our Past
Raul Castro Delivers Historic Speech to Summit of the Americas
Maduro: I Extend My Hand to You Obama
Argentina's Fernandez at Summit: Obama on Venezuela 'Ridiculous'