The Summit of the Americas is on the verge of failure due to vetoes and defections

The Joe Biden government indicated that it would exclude Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua from the meeting.

The Summit of the Americas is on the verge of failure due to vetoes and defections

The Joe Biden government indicated that it would exclude Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua from the meeting. Then the president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, announced that, if the vetoes are maintained, he will not go either. And the same was said later by the leader of Bolivia, Luis Arce, while that of Honduras, Xiomara Castro, stated that "if all the nations are not here, it is not the Summit of the Americas."

The ninth meeting of leaders of the American continent, scheduled for June 6-10 in Los Angeles and with the United States as host for the first time since the inaugural session in 1994, looks bad. Unless Washington at least persuades López Obrador to reconsider his plan. Or that the White House rectify its veto of the three excluded as "non-democratic countries." And anything can happen. Because a failure of the summit, with the consequent clash between the US and an important part of Latin America, is what Biden lacked.

The Undersecretary of State for the Western Hemisphere, Brian Nichols, has been repeating for days that the forecast is "not to invite Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua because they do not comply with the principles of the Inter-American Democratic Charter." And although the president has the last word, he doubts "very much" that this position will change.

The White House Press Secretary said on Tuesday that "the final decision - on the exclusion of these three countries - has not yet been made." And that the invitations had not yet been sent. Before which López Obrador showed some satisfaction this Thursday; He indicated that he "does not rule out" that Biden finally invites the leaders of these nations, and referred to him as "a good person, a responsible man and a Democrat who knows that everyone's right to dissent must be respected." But the Mexican leader kept up the challenge for now.

Among the three discards foreseen a priori, the most understandable and difficult to rectify is that of Nicaragua. Not only because Daniel Ortega has imposed a regime of terror, but also because he himself expelled the entity convening the summit, the Organization of American States (OAS), from the country by forcefully occupying its headquarters in Managua and withdrawing credentials of their representatives, on April 24. "We will not have a presence in any of the instances of that diabolical instrument of the misnamed OAS," declared the Nicaraguan government. The organization's withdrawal had already been announced in November, although the exit process lasts two years.

Both Ortega and the Venezuelan Nicolás Maduro and the former Cuban president, Raúl Castro, participated in the 2015 Summit of the Americas in Panama. It was with Barack Obama as president, and in full thaw between Washington and Havana.

Biden already rehearsed a high-level meeting with important vetoes when, in December, he set up the World Summit on Democracy. In that case he left out not only Cuba and Nicaragua but also Bolivia, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, while in the case of Venezuela he invited the opposition leader Juan Guaidó. The meeting did not produce great results.

Now, if the situation is not redirected and the plant threats are carried out, Biden runs the risk that the summit will shipwreck and cause him to lose the opportunity to show that Latin America matters to him. And that he cares beyond what is essential to patch up the migratory crisis, combat drug trafficking and continue doing business, if possible without Chinese competition continuing to advance in the region and posing tough competition.

In order to prove that Latin America represents more than all that for Washington, Biden intends to take advantage of the summit to launch ambitious social and climate programs that improve living conditions in the most distressed areas of the region and thus, through a great pact on migration, "the causes and not only the symptoms" of the number one problem in the North-South relationship are tackled.

Big plans. But they must be specified and, for this, negotiated with the interested parties. It is hard to believe that one and the other allow the summit to sink.


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