Again this month we indicate in the CPNN bulletin that Latin America and the Caribbean continue to be in the vanguard of the Global Movement for a Culture of Peace. This month it is the national governments that have taken the leadership with their declaration in Havana that the region will be a “zone of peace” privileging the development of a culture of peace according to the principles in the UN Declaration .
At first glance this seems to contradict my contention that a culture of peace cannot be created by national governments because they have become inextricably linked to the culture of war.
But on further reflection, the problem is not so simple. Governments in Latin America have tried to move towards a culture of peace other times in the past, only to be attacked and prevented from doing so by intervention from the United States. The most extreme examples were Cuba in 1961 and Chile in 1973. And now, even as I write this, there is strong evidence that “state within a state” forces in the United States, perhaps without the knowledge of President Obama, are moving the destabilize Venezuela because its policies to do not fit with the American culture of war. Cuba, after the Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961, installed a socialist culture of war in defense. And Chile, after the overthrow of Allende in 1973, established a classic fascist dictature under Pinochet. Is Venezuela destined to suffer a similar fate?
Probably one of the reasons that some forces in the United States want to destabilize Venezuela is to stop its leadership in development of the Banco del Sur which would make South America independent of the US dollar and its financial institutions. The Banco del Sur was officially launched last year in Caracas by Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador and Argentina, as well as Venezuela. So far, however, it is only a small step towards economic independence.
It seems that the global culture of war, headed by the American empire, will not allow the establishment of culture of peace at any national level.
However, even if Latin America is blocked from installing a culture of peace at national levels in its own zone, its attempts to move in this direction will have a lasting effect on the consciousness of its citizens and we may be confident that it is there, in consciousness, that history will ultimately be determined. What is needed is to reinforce this consciousness by the development of local culture of peace institutions. A start was made in this direction in Brazil 10 years ago, but was not sustained. Let us hope that the process can be re-started.
If Latin American countries can continue to push for a culture of peace, and if they can develop a certain economic independence from the American empire, they will be in a good position when the empire crashes to support the cities of Latin America for a revision of the UN Security Council and to return the power of peace to the people rather than the nation states. I have imagined this scenario in The Promised Land.