US exclusion of some Latin American nations from summit risks undermining event

Mexico, Guatemala and Bolivia have threatened to skip regional summit

Laura Gamba Fadul   | 20.05.2022
US exclusion of some Latin American nations from summit risks undermining event Credit:

BOGOTA, Colombia 

The US has sparked a regional dispute through its intention to exclude Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua from the Ninth Summit of the Americas, which will take place from June 6-10 in Los Angeles, California. 

The exclusion of the three countries from participating in the conference because “they do not have democratic regimes” has prompted some governments in the region to threaten to boycott the event, with Mexico, Guatemala and Bolivia leading the way.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he would skip the summit if the presidents of those countries were not invited.

"If there are exclusions, if not everyone is invited, then a delegation from the Mexican government will go, but I will not go," Lopez Obrador said at a news conference on May 10.

Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei also announced that he would not attend next month's regional summit after US President Joe Biden’s reluctance to invite Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.

Bolivia joined the growing criticism over the Biden administration's decision. President Luis Arce announced that he will make his attendance conditional on there being no exclusions.

“A Summit of the Americas that excludes American countries will not be a full Summit of the Americas, and if the exclusion of brotherly peoples persists, I will not participate in it,” Arce said.

The new leftist leader of Honduras, Xiomara Castro, also raised concerns.

"If we are not all nations, it is not the Summit of the Americas," said Castro.

One of those left out, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, said Wednesday he has no interest in attending the conference.

"We are not interested in being at that summit," Ortega said at a public event.

"That summit does not exalt anyone, rather it makes us dirty, it makes us muddy. We Latin Americans have to defend ourselves so that they respect us.”

At the regional event, which has been held every three years since 1994, topics to be discussed will include the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate crisis, and a lack of equitable access to economic, social and political opportunities for the most vulnerable and underrepresented.

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