Summit of the Americas or Summit of the Exclusions?

By Alejandra Garcia on May 15, 2022 from Havana

The United States has decided to exclude Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua from the IX Summit of the Americas, scheduled to be held June 8-10 in Los Angeles, but the continent has not remained silent. Shortly after the news broke, voices joined together to say that the continental meeting cannot be called ‘the Americas’ if it does not include all the countries of the Americas.

With less than three weeks to go before the event, there are signs that it could showcase the declining influence of the United States due to its failed policy toward countries it considers “enemies” and a renewed sense of unity within a growing number of nations in Latin America.

During a recent interview, the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed that “Cuba, Nicaragua and Nicolas Maduro’s regime do not respect the democratic charter of the Americas and therefore I do not expect their presence at the event.”

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) refuted this statement during a morning press conference from Mexico City. He said that he refused to attend the event if other countries from the region are excluded.

Are Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua not nations of the American continent, or are they from another planet, another universe? AMLO questioned.

López Obrador’s attitude was echoed by the leftist presidents of Bolivia, Luis Arce, and Honduras, Xiomara Castro who seemed galvanized AMLO’s position. Meanwhile, a group of Caribbean countries also stated that they would not attend the meeting if Venezuela’s self-proclaimed president Juan Guaido is invited instead of Nicolás Maduro.

According to several Brazilian government officials, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro may not attend the summit due to the frosty relationship between Brasilia and Washington since Biden came to power in January 2021.

Washington’s plan to exclude Cuba from the meeting had political motivations. The justification for this exclusion is that, according to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, “these countries do not respect democracy.” However, this move is having negative consequences for Biden, who is now facing the lowest approval ratings since he came to power. From the shortage of baby formulas in the US to large protests against the Supreme Court’s attack on the rights of women, to more mass shootings, to the largest rise in inflation in forty years, the Biden administration seems inept and his weakness, a reflection of US standing in the world, is not going unnoticed.

Experts claim that the real purpose of the White House is to have a summit of friends who can accept its agenda without replying, but those friends are dwindling.  Such a stance is inconceivable, considering the event will address such crucial issues as health, economy, and migration, topics in which Cuba has a lot to say and contribute.

“If you have a Summit of the Americas without the presidents of Mexico, Brazil, and other nations, it will be almost meaningless and a failure,” said former Mexican foreign minister and current professor of international relations at New York University, Jorge Castañeda.

Biden cannot exclude nations and at the same time seek a new era of its country’s relationship with Latin America, which needs unity to move forward, contain illegal migration, and achieve balanced development.

Washington believes it still has the authority to give lessons on democracy but after the last presidential campaign and elections, the deadly assault on the Capitol, politicians’ influence on excluding voters, the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the unprecedented inflation; what high moral ground are they standing on?

Source: Resumen Latinoamericano – English