The Biden administration has made a final decision against inviting the governments of Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua to a regional summit this week, bucking calls from Mexico’s president to include all countries or risk him staying home.
The US made the call after weeks of discussions with governments from Latin America and the Caribbean, including Mexico’s, according to people familiar with the deliberations, who asked not to be identified because they aren’t authorized to speak about the matter publicly.
The US choice regarding the Summit of the Americas that President Joe Biden is hosting in Los Angeles is based on concerns about the lack of democracy and respect for human rights in the three countries, the people said. The US has non-government representatives from the nations registered to participate in stakeholder forums as it seeks ways to support the democratic aspirations of its citizens, the people said.
The White House press office declined to comment.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has been saying for weeks that he would skip the summit unless representatives of all governments in the western hemisphere were invited, including the authoritarian ones. The US had refused, citing their undemocratic records, but continued to discuss the issue with Mexico. In turn, the leaders of other nations, including Guatemala and Honduras, said they may skip the summit as well.
Leaders from the region expected to attend include Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, Argentine President Alberto Fernandez, and Colombian President Ivan Duque. Should Lopez Obrador miss the summit, Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard would represent the nation.
The Biden administration delegation will include Vice President Kamala Harris, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, and climate envoy John Kerry, the people said.
The nations are working on a pact to reduce and manage undocumented migration that they will announce at the summit as the Biden administration faces a surge in arrivals. The declaration is part of a larger focus on regional economic, health, and food security issues that will be discussed, the people said.
Biden also plans to launch an economic framework that looks to build on existing free-trade agreements between the US and the nations of the hemisphere and address issues including inequality, digital connectivity, and decarbonization, the people said.
Source: El Universal