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  HOME | Opinion (Click here for more)

Beatrice Rangel: From Rio's Civic Carnival to the Summit of the Americas
Former Venezuela Presidential Chief of Staff Beatrice Rangel predicts that Venezuela's Maduro will be a no-show at April's Summit of the Americas.

By Beatrice E. Rangel

Most analysts are beginning to paint chaotic scenarios for the upcoming 8th Summit of the Americas, a gathering that brings together the heads of state of governments of the U.S., Canada and Latin America except, of course, for Cuba.

Analysts believe that given President Trump's notoriously famous short attention span and the penchant of Latin leaders for long and verbose presentations, the meeting could be cut short.

Worse, they also fear a showdown between the leaders of Bolivia, Nicaragua and Venezuela and the rest of the attendees. While I do not doubt that public sessions will be cut short in favor of one-on-ones between President Trump and his peers from Latin America, I doubt that Mr. Maduro will even show up given two facts: The Lima Group is about to meet on February 13th to demand heightened sanctions against his regime -- which has lost all claims to legitimacy by taking over other public powers, unleashing vicious repression and exterminating the population through hunger and lack of health care has finally reached the point of no return from totalitarianism .

This will most probably keep Mr Maduro away from Lima and close to Havana instead.

But there also is the thrust of discussions to be held in Lima among Hemispheric Leaders. According to Antonio Garcia Revilla, Peru's Summit Coordinator, our leaders will concentrate their discussion on the issue of corruption and how to fight and prevent this scourge. This would certainly be yet another reason for Mr Maduro to stay home. Thus, probabilities are high that Venezuela will miss the Summit for the first time.

Discussions about corruption seem to be quite a match to hemispheric challenges and circumstances.

To begin with, for the first time since Columbus decided to tour our hemisphere, the people of Latin America are reacting against corruption and have decided to sack corrupt politicians. From Brazil -- where the Escola's do Samba have correctly portrayed corruption as the new slavery -- to the halls of Mexico's Ministry of Justice -- where citizens have brought to trial former governors that stole meager resources from small towns and states -- citizens in Latin America are organizing themselves to fight corruption.

At Rio's "blocos" costumes this year include people dressed as suitcases stuffed with stolen money. Some will dress up as Bitcoins. And while no country can claim it that has totally eradicated corruption, Latin Americans seem to be determined to get the monster back on the cave as they know all too well know that corruption is responsible for their terrible predicament: underdevelopment.

At the Summit, hemispheric leaders will consider for approval a document that reinforces the Guidelines established by the U.N. Convention against Corruption and that includes among many other proposals benchmarks for red tape reduction measures to enhance transparency, economic incentives to fight corruption, and above all technical cooperation among financial authorities to detect early financial flows that are not tied to legitimate economic activities.

This last measure empowers agencies like FinCen in the U.S. to trace the paths of corruption and act upon them. Definitively a very discouraging gathering for Venezuela!!

Beatrice Rangel is President & CEO of the AMLA Consulting Group, which provides growth and partnership opportunities in US and Hispanic markets. AMLA identifies the best potential partner for businesses which are eager to exploit the growing buying power of the US Hispanic market and for US Corporations seeking to find investment partners in Latin America. Previously, she was Chief of Staff for Venezuela President Carlos Andres Perez as well as Chief Strategist for the Cisneros Group of Companies.

For her work throughout Latin America, Rangel has been honored with the Order of Merit of May from Argentina, the Condor of the Andes Order from Bolivia, the Bernardo O'Higgins Order by Chile, the Order of Boyaca from Colombia, and the National Order of Jose Matías Delgado from El Salvador.

You can follow her on twitter @BEPA2009 or contact her directly at BRangel@amlaconsulting.com.


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