On first day of Summit of the Americas, those not there overshadow those that attend
The first Summit of the Americas on U.S. soil since 1994 has some major absences.
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The Summit of the Americas, a gathering of all the leaders in the Western Hemisphere that occurs every three years, is set to kick off in Los Angeles on June 6, 2022.
However, up until its first day, the first Summit of the Americas in the U.S. since 1994, has been shrouded in controversy over those leaders that were left off the list.
Well before the gathering, the U.S. announced that it had not invited the leaders of Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, all countries the U.S. has spoken out against on the world stage for alleged human rights abuses.
Rather than rally the rest of the hemisphere to forge ahead with the summit in the absence of the three countries, six further countries have announced intentions to not send their leaders.
The biggest and most economically and politically important of those four is Mexico. On Monday, June 6, ahead of the first meeting, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced his intention to boycott the summit over the exclusion of Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela.
AMLO had hinted for weeks he wouldn’t attend over the exclusions.
“I’m not going to the Summit because not all countries are invited,” he said in his daily press conference.
The Mexican president also went further in trying to get to the root of Biden’s reasoning for excluding Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua — pointing to perceived pressure on the homefront from the Republican and Democratic parties and within Florida’s Cuban community.
Rather than go himself, AMLO sent Mexico’s Foriegn Ebrard in his place. Joining him in the boycott or by sending smaller delegations are a number of Caribbean nations, Honduras’ Xiomara Castro, El Salvador’s Nayib Bukele, Bolivia’s Luis Arce, and Guatemala’s Alejandro Giammattei.
Giammattei could also prove a vital absence considering U.S. officials have said immigration will be the most important issue on the docket of discussion among the leaders. Guatemala was the first foreign trip made by Vice President Kamala Harris in her new role. The visit, meant to address the root causes of the country’s migrant crisis left a lot to be desired, especially after Harris asked migrants not to come to the U.S.
Beyond immigration, the Summit is expected to address supply chain issues, further response from the hemisphere to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and China’s continued economic intervention in Latin America.
Other leaders that were on the fence were Argentina’s Alberto Fernández and Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro. Fernández was in after a phone call from Biden, and Bolsonaro finally agreed after being promised a meeting with Biden.