|Raul at the summit?|
All was not wasted for Chavez, he got an ego boost, he repeated N+1 times that he was cured, he put up a show for the 30% of us that are congenitally unable to see any fault in him. This being said the rest of Venezuela made fun of the whole thing, when not outraged not only at the expense but at the inconvenience for Caracas to hold such an event. After all, Chavez went to the extent to cancel Baseball Venezuelan League games and give public workers the day off Friday in a desperate effort to unclog somewhat the streets of Caracas. That did not stop a pot banging event of some resonance to take place in Caracas Friday at 8 PM. Certainly he did not fool any foreign visitor because, you know, they get reports from the embassies including Consuls shot in the crime wave to scarcity of food and the hours lost in a car for any errand.
The thing is not only still born but it has the strange feel of dusty fossils that one has no idea what they are for, be it a Raul Castro talking about democracy, or a Chavez talking cancer as if it were now in formaldehyde. The thing cannot prosper because it has killed its original purpose of a small group of Latin Countries with some muscle that could help other country in trouble. Now it is an ersatz from Anguilla to Brazil whose only apparent purpose it s to exclude the USA and Canada. I mean, the US ancestral grudge I can understand up to a point, but Canada? And never mind the dreadful symbolism of holding a meeting of "democrats" in the main military camp (literally, under a tent) of the corrupt and drug trafficking army in what looks more and more a narco-military regime.
Still, many came but many had reasons of their very own. Not to mention that head of states love to go to these summits because they can do a lot of business in hotel hallways, saving their country's cash from other trips that they would have to take just to meet so and so. Let's take a few examples. Miguel tells us clearly that Chavez desperate to have a few real head of states attend decided to pay off the long festering Mexican Cemex nationalization. Calderon announced at the very end he would come, only after the agreement that should have been signed 3 years ago was finally done. He spent at most 100 K to recover for CEMEX 600 millions. Not bad.
We could say the same thing for Dilma Roussef of Brazil that could not postpone anymore a big meeting with Chavez. Lula would have visited Chavez at least twice since he got sick, Dilma is always pushing it off, having things way more important to do. But this week she came to tie up a few dead ends such as the PDVSA collaboration for a refinery in Pernambuco, that obligingly EFE informs us PDVSA giving cash insurance for the project. I kid you not.
Colombia's Santos, who was already early this week in Caracas, attended to make sure that the CELAC would not get any ideas at interfering in its internal strife against the FARC. See, the troubles of the on the run FARC could be alleviated if an "initiative of the CELAC" (read, FARC supporters Castro and Chavez) were to offer a mediation which without doubt would put an immediate stop at the current successful offensive of the Colombian government. Right there you know that the CELAC has no future in solving any of Latin America problems!
The possible lone voice of sanity in this gabfest was Piñera of Chile who commented that the best of the CELAC is yet to come, a diplomatic way to say that right now it is totally useless. Of course the guy is certainly more serious than some of the other clowns attending: tomorrow he flies to real meeting in Mexico, for the second summit of the Pacific alliance. These four countries, Chile, Peru, Colombia and Mexico, are coordinating their efforts where it really matters, to counterbalance the rising influence of Asia on the Pacific rim. Probably Dilma would have liked to supervise that one instead, a development counter Brazil hegemonic interests in the region which are not going to be served well by the way CELAC is turning out so far...
And others simply came because Venezuela footed the bill for their trip (you know who you are), because they wanted to see on their own how sick Chavez was and how long they could keep expecting an occasional alimony, or some other equally irrelevant reason. At any rate neither the US, nor Canada or the OAS seem to have lost any sleep on this issue, probably secretly hoping for the soon to be demise of the OAS so that they will not have to bankroll it anymore..
One thing is certain and that is the message these people gave the Venezuelan people: we do not give a shit about your problems, your lack of democracy, your wanna be dictator. As long as Chavez is going to give us freebies you are on your own.