The IX Summit of the Americas started this Monday in the city of Los Angeles (USA) with the opening of the Civil Society Forum and in the midst of the controversy over exclusion, already confirmed by the government of Joe Bidenfrom Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua.
“It is an honor to welcome you to the Civil Society Forum that takes place within the framework of the IX Summit of the Americas”said the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Louis Almagroat the opening ceremony of the forum, in a hotel in the Californian city.
Almagro affirmed that the summit takes place in a “Historic moment” which should be used for “strengthen inter-American relations” and that reflects the desire of “renew the hemispheric alliance” among the countries of the region.
He stressed that it is time to “defend with firmness and determination” democracy and find solutions to the structural problems that affect the continent.
The first of the two days of this IX Civil Society Forum will address, among other topics, the protection of the environment, the defense of democracy, the construction of sustainable cities and the strengthening of the region to face global emergencies .
The days leading up to this ninth edition of the Summit of the Americas have been marked by controversy over the guest list, after the United States announced its intention to exclude Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela by not considering their governments to be democratic.
After a few days of uncertainty, the Joe Biden Administration chose to leave them out of the summit for “the lack of democratic spaces and the situation of human rights” in those three countries.
Several Latin American countries had already expressed their disagreement with that decision and some leaders, as a form of protest, have decided not to attend the summit, such as the Bolivian louis arce and the mexican Andres Manuel Lopez Obradorwho announced his refusal this Monday.
The IX Summit of the Americas is being held in the Californian city of Los Angeles until next Friday, although the plenary sessions with regional leaders will only take place starting Thursday, according to the schedule of the United States Department of State.
This is the first time that the United States hosts the continental event since its first edition, which took place in 1994, in Miami, during the government of bill clinton.