It was the early 1990s, and the Western world seemed full of promise. The Soviet Union had collapsed, and the Cold War that had gripped and shaped global politics for decades was over.
So were many of the wars in Central America and some of the most intractable and brutal military dictatorships in South America, from Argentina and Chile to Brazil. Then-President Clinton seized on the moment and the Summit of the Americas was born, with the inaugural event held in Miami in 1994.