Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Tuesday, May 10th, that he would not attend the U.S.-hosted Summit of the Americas if all countries in the region were not invited, and would send Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard in his place.
Lopez Obrador said during his regular news conference that his absence at the summit in Los Angeles next month was unlikely to cause tensions with the United States.
This is Lopez Obrador’s strongest stance yet in his efforts to get the United States to extend invitations to all of the region’s governments.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Brian Nichols said late last month it was unlikely Nicaragua, Cuba, and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government would be invited to the summit that is meant to showcase democracy in the hemisphere.
He told a small group of reporters it would be up to the White House to release the final invitation list.
A person in Washington familiar with the matter told Reuters last week that Nicaragua had been informed that it would not be invited.
The White House and State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Lopez Obrador, who visited Central America and the Caribbean in recent days, emphasized his wishes for Cuba to be invited while visiting the country Sunday, also saying he would continue to push for the United States to lift its embargo against Cuba.
“If they’re excluded, if not all are invited, a representative from the Mexican government would go, but I wouldn’t,” Lopez Obrador said.
The Mexican president has criticized the United States for not investing enough in Central America, which he argues is central to addressing the issue of mass migration from the region.