AMLO skips Summit of the Americas to avoid Nicaragua, Cuba, and Venezuela
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the Mexican president, has announced that he won’t be attending the US-led Summit of the Americas. He chose to not go due to the refusal of the US to host the leaders of Nicaragua and Venezuela. On Monday, he announced that Marcelo Ebrard would be his Foreign Secretary.
“I’m not going to the Summit because not all countries are invited,” AMLO said in a press conference on Monday. Washington had been warned by AMLO for several weeks about his intention to withdraw if not all members of the region could attend. Instead, he plans to visit areas that were affected by recent hurricanes.
The Mexican leader didn’t blame US President Joe Biden alone for Washington’s decision not to invite the three left-leaning nations, calling the American leader “A good man is a happy one” and acknowledging the “Many pressures are being applied by Republicans, and particularly some Republican Party leaders and others in the Democratic Party who have anything to do in Florida with Cuban communities in Florida..”
AMLO is not the only leader to decline Washington’s invitation over ideological differences. Xiomara Castro Honduras’ President declared that Saturday, she would return home to send FM Eduardo Enrique Reina instead.
This Honduran snub is a hint at years of diplomatic tension between Washington and Tegucigalpa. While US Vice President Kamala Harris was the guest of honor at Castro’s inauguration, the Obama administration – specifically Hillary Clinton’s State Department – backed the 2009 coup in Honduras which took out Castro’s husband, Manuel Zelaya, kicking off years of overt human rights abuses while Biden looked the other way as vice president along with the rest of Obama’s cabinet. Following Castro’s inauguration, the US extradited her predecessor, its former ally Juan Orlando Hernandez, to face trial on federal drug charges, presumably turning the page on the relationship between the two countries.
Bolivian President Luis Arce warned last month that he would not attend the Summit of the Americas either unless the “Exclusion of brotherly communities” in Nicaragua, Venezuela and Cuba was ended. Alberto Fernandez, the President of Argentina had decried US snub to the leftist nations and planned on skipping the summit until he reportedly got a phone call from Biden.
Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, who is the antithesis to a leftist leader had already publicly declared he wouldn’t be attending the summit until White House promised him a bilateral meeting.
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And while Chilean President Gabriel Boric has not announced plans to skip the summit, he described the decision to exclude Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua as an “An error occurred” and a “mistake” on Monday, arguing that by leaving them out, the US was “Rather, they reinforce the positions of their countries.”
On Monday, the Summit of the Americas will begin in Los Angeles. An unnamed official told Reuters that the Biden administration made the final decision not to include Cuba, Venezuela, or Nicaragua. The three nations were designated by the Trump administration’s national security adviser John Bolton as the “Troika of terror” in an apparent effort to revive Washington’s allies’ enthusiasm for leveling muscular sanctions against its socialist neighbors.