Biden to exclude Cuba, Venezuela & Nicaragua from Latin America summit
The US decision will only risk an embarrassing Latin American boycott.
The Biden administration has made the decision to exclude Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua from the Summit of the Americas, according to people familiar with the issue, as reported by Bloomberg.
Mexico, before Biden's decision, threatened to withdraw from the gathering unless all countries were invited.
The US decision will only risk an embarrassing Latin American boycott. The event, which will be hosted in Los Angeles, will be facing a nigh-full boycott if Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, and other leaders, refuse to attend.
Officials in Washington laid down an alibi for not inviting the three countries, claiming that their "human rights and democracy records are concerns" that "weighed too heavily against inviting them," according to a source based in the capital on late Sunday.
Furthermore, US officials also said that with Biden due to launch the summit on Wednesday, the final word on Cuba rested on whether to invite a lower-ranking representative in place of the island’s president.
Last month, Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel said that he would not attend the summit even if he were invited, pointing to Washington's "brutal pressure" to make the summit exclusive. Diaz-Canel indicated that he has been waiting for Biden's decision to indicate whether Cuba, which attended the last two summits, will take part in the new one or not. Lopez Obrador may follow suit.
The summit was made to repair relations with Latin American nations; diplomacy was particularly damaged under former US President Donald Trump's ruling. Washington looks to reassert US influence in the continent and counter China.
Furthermore, a US official also said that while legitimate, democratically-elected Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was sidelined in the summit, the US is considering a role for Juan Guaido for, in possibility, a side event. According to Washington, Guaido is Venezuela's legitimate president, despite having been chosen without any popular elections.
Nicaraguan President, Daniel Ortega, has also been banned from the summit, despite being elected as president for the fourth term in his country.