Hugo Chávez and Álvaro Uribe almost came to fists at the Cancún Unity Summit, according to communications leaked by WikiLeaks
A US confidential cable leaked by WikiLeaks provided yet another look at the colorful way US diplomats share information about world events; this particular time, The US memo referred to a summit organized by the Mexican Government labeled “The Unity Summit” as “poorly conceived,” “inadequately managed” and “badly executed.”
Last February, México had hoped to bring together Latin American leaders to participate in a forum in Cancún advocating regional collaboration, but the event went sour when Hugo Chávez and Álvaro Uribe came very close to a fist fight.
According to the wire, a verbal fight broke out when Colombia’s Álvaro Uribe complained about Venezuela blocking border trade. Verbal and physical provocations continued to escalate until Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez said ‘You can go to hell. I am leaving.’ Uribe responded: ‘Don’t be a coward and leave just to insult me from a distance.’
The insulting and screaming continued, and as Venezuelan security officials pushed and shoved to reach their president, Raúl Castro stepped in to beg for a civilized discussion.
Colombia’s ambassador in Mexico at the time, Luis Camilo Osorio, said Mexico’s president, Felipe Calderón, had presided over a banana republic fiasco. “Calderón simply put a bunch of the worst types together in a room, expecting to outsmart them.” The cable adds “There was no practical planning, there was no management of the agenda, and there was none of the legwork that would have been needed to yield a practical and useful outcome.”
The wire, was sent to Hillary to update her on the progress or in this case lack of progress coming from the Summit. It was submitted by the US ambassador in México Carlos Pascual, who summarizes the event with the following remark:
“Unfortunately, the Cancun Latin American Unity Summit was not an example of a new and bold step into the future but rather a reminder of Mexico’s at times conflicting message on how it sees the future of the region and Mexico’s role as one of its leaders.”