IT WASN’T ALWAYS the case that “Third World” had a negative connotation. After World War II, two-thirds of the global population lived in the so-called Third World. They weren’t part of the immediate spoils of war for the United States or the Soviet Union. The countries held their newfound independence proudly, with many emerging from a long history of colonialism and ready to fight for a dream of sovereignty.
Outside of the bounds of the escalating Cold War, the Third World also believed that through solidarity, it could build this new future together. Last summer, a vestige of Third World optimism quietly died when Cuba shut down the Organization in Solidarity with the Peoples of Africa, Asia and Latin America (OSPAAAL), which was born in 1966 and grew out of the landmark Bandung Conference, hosted by Indonesia in 1955.