Joe Biden Summit of the Americas has been disrupted since its inception

(Los Angeles) Joe Biden’s “Summit of the Americas”, which is supposed to inaugurate a new era in US relations with Latin America, which begins Monday, is already experiencing many bumps, with the Mexican president refusing to attend. Participation after exclusion Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua.

Posted at 10:03 AM
Updated at 11:31 AM

Shawn Tandon
France media agency

After weeks of suspense, Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador finally followed through on his threat and announced that he would not participate in the diplomatic event starting Monday in Los Angeles.

I will not attend the summit because we are not inviting all the countries of America. Mr. López Obrador told the press that I believe in the need to change a policy that has been imposed for centuries: exclusion.

Photo by Pedro Pardo, AFP

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador

A White House official confirmed to AFP Monday that Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela are not actually invited to attend the Summit of the Americas, stressing the United States’ “reservations” in the face of the “lack of democratic space and respect for human rights.” in these three countries.

Nevertheless, leaders from across the region are expected to continue a week of exchanges, as Washington wants to show its muscle against China, which is offering its pawns in a region that Americans have long considered their backyard.


Joe Biden’s chief Latin American adviser, Juan Gonzalez, told the press that the US president intends to “promote a vision of a safe region” and “democracy”, which is “essentially in the strategic interest of the United States.”

According to him, Mr. Biden will make announcements on economic cooperation and the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic as well as against climate change.

The 79-year-old Democrat also hopes to strike a regional cooperation agreement on a politically explosive topic, which has earned him fierce criticism from the Republican opposition: immigration.

An increasing number of people are seeking entry to the United States after fleeing poverty and violence in Central America and Haiti.

The Biden administration has so far failed to deliver on its promise of a revamped immigration policy that wants to be more humane than that laid out in Trump’s mandate.

American retreat

Washington secured the arrival of some key leaders, both the center-left Argentine president Alberto Fernandez and the far-right Brazilian head of state, Jair Bolsonaro.

But the Mexican president’s absence will be seen as “significant,” according to Benjamin Gaidan, who directs studies on Latin America at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

He noted that his threat to boycott actually caused a “really unwelcome detour during the preparations for the summit, because it mobilized an enormous amount of American diplomatic energy.”

Mr. Lopez Obrador is very popular in his country, and he has indicated that he could meet President Joe Biden at the White House in July, with which he claims to get along very well.

Benjamin Gaidan also points out that as China invests heavily in the region, the US president has yet to announce any major economic effort.

“The summit should be judged by the scale of US proposals regarding commercial access, loans, and assistance to fund recovery and infrastructure in the region,” Benjamin Gaidan said. He believes that “on these points, the United States will disappoint, it is inevitable.”

The lost lure of free trade

The Summit of the Americas was launched in 1994 in Miami by President Bill Clinton, who wanted to launch a broad regional trade liberalization agreement.

But free trade is no longer on the rise, neither in the United States nor anywhere else, and in this respect, Joe Biden has not fundamentally broken the protectionist reactions of his predecessor, Donald Trump.

Eric Farnsworth, Vice President of the Council of the Americas (“Council of the Americas,” an organization that promotes continent-wide commerce) estimated recently during a parliamentary hearing that each edition of the Summit of the Americas was less ambitious than the previous one.

Michael Schefter, a researcher with the Inter-American Dialogue, sees the guest list controversy as a sign of waning American influence. Especially since the political difficulties of unpopular Joe Biden, who risks losing control of Congress after this fall’s election, are not escaping from the region’s leaders.

He notes that the US “still has a lot of ‘soft power’, meaning influence in terms of cultural content or consumer habits. But their political and diplomatic influence is declining every day.”

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