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The US excludes Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua from the Summit of the Americas

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The Joe Biden administration made the final decision to exclude the governments of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua from the Summit of the Americas, a White House source who spoke on condition of anonymity told Reuters.

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The US decision, which followed weeks of intense deliberations, sets the stage for an embarrassing boycott of the meeting organized by Washington later this week in Los Angeles.

US officials determined that concerns about human rights and a lack of democracy in the three countries, Washington’s main antagonists in Latin America, weighed too heavily against inviting them, the source said.

The Mexican president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, ruled out attending the Summit of the Americas to be held this week due to Washington’s decision, but anticipated that he plans to visit his colleague Joe Biden next month.

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Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel said last month that he would not go even if invited, accusing the United States of exercising a “brutal pressure” so that the summit was not inclusive. Cuba attended the last two summits.

Offering Cuba a limited role was seen as a way to placate López Obrador, but the idea was rejected, another source said. Cuban civil society activists have been invited.

Controversy over the guest list has clouded the US goal of using the summit to repair relations with Latin America damaged under Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, reassert US influence and counter China.

Having ruled out illegitimate Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, the US government is considering a role for opposition leader Juan Guaidó, possibly virtually at a side event, a US official said.

Washington recognizes Guaidó as the legitimate president of Venezuela, after condemning Maduro’s re-election in 2018 as a farce.

Also excluded from the summit is Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, a former Marxist guerrilla who “won” a fourth consecutive term in November after jailing all his opponents.

López Obrador’s absence could cast doubt on the prospects for progress in discussions on curbing migration on the southern border of the United States, a priority for Biden.

Most leaders have signaled they will attend, but the pushback from left-led governments suggests that many in Latin America are no longer as willing to follow Washington’s lead as they have sometimes been in the past.

Senior White House officials have insisted that the controversy over the invitations will dissipate and the summit will be a success, regardless of who attends.

Source: Gestion

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