Mexico Refuses to Attend Biden-Hosted Americas Summit
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) on Monday confirmed his decision not to attend a summit of Americas hosted by United States President Joe Biden because not all countries in the Western Hemisphere were invited.
After much deliberation, the Biden Administration chose to exclude authoritarian leaders from Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela based on concerns regarding human rights and democracy.
We “understand” Mexico’s position, explained State Department spokesman Ned Price, but “one of the key elements of this summit is democratic governance, and these countries are not exemplars, to put it mildly.”
AMLO joins Honduran President Xiomara Castro in sending delegations led by lower government officials rather than themselves. “There cannot be a summit if all countries are not invited,” said AMLO, who plans to meet with Biden in Washington next month. “Or there can be one but that is to continue with all politics of interventionism.”
Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canal said he wouldn’t attend the summit even if he was invited and described Biden’s decision to exclude some nations as “discriminatory and unacceptable.”
Though Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is banned from attending, Biden expects to see some representatives for opposition leader Juan Guaido, who is recognized by the US as Venezuela’s official leader.
President Biden says he wants to improve relations with Latin America, but his exclusion of key players – especially given the fact that regional migration is a key theme of the event – makes his position less than convincing. Biden has put Vice President Kamala Harris in charge of addressing the root causes of the surge in migration from Central America to the US at the summit, a difficult task that could be undermined by AMLO’s refusal to attend.
In addition to regional migration, the summit will touch on climate change, pandemic recovery, countering Chinese aggression, and a swath of economic challenges. The event beings June 8th in Los Angeles, CA. At least 23 heads of state are expected to attend.