Boycott threat clouds Biden summit for a new era with Latin America

Boycott threat clouds Biden summit for a new era with Latin America

WASHINGTON, June 4, 2022 (AFP) – President Joe Biden hopes the Summit of the Americas lays new foundations with Latin America and the Caribbean, but starts Monday on quicksand due to boycott threats from countries like Mexico, in the midst of the migration crisis.

With just two days to go before its opening in Los Angeles, the city that hosts the largest Hispanic community in the United Statesthe host still does not reveal the list of invited rulers, which has become the list of disagreements.

His hint a few weeks ago that he would not invite Cuba nor to the leaders of VenezuelaNicolas Maduro, and NicaraguaDaniel Ortega, whom he considers illegitimate since his re-election, opened the box of thunder.

Mexico, Bolivia, Guatemala, Honduras and the 14-nation Caribbean bloc have questioned their assistance if those countries are excluded, which the United States says are in breach of the Inter-American Democratic Charter.

It would not be the first time that Cuba attended one of these summits, since it has done so in the last two editions.

“The drama”

A Biden he is greatly concerned about an absence of the Mexican president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador at this ninth meeting of the countries of the region.

“Our relationship with Mexico is and will continue to be positive” and the US president “personally wants” López Obrador to attend, Juan González, the White House’s top adviser for the Americas, said this week.

Due to the immigration problem, the United States needs López Obrador and he “sees that the position of challenging Biden makes him appear as a Latin American leader,” Michael Shifter, a professor at Georgetown University, told AFP.

“All the drama about who is going to participate and who is not and for what reasons – he adds – shows that there is a great disconnection” and that the United States “loses influence especially in South America but also in Mexico”, although there is “a lot of power soft”, of companies “that are still very influential”. So is China, which has become a consolidated partner for most Latin American and Caribbean countries.

The President of Chile, Gabriel Boricand the one from Argentina, Alberto Fernández, joined the call to extend the invitations to everyone, but they will attend the appointment.

Even so, the Argentine Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero reiterated this Saturday the need for “a meeting without exclusions, a meeting space where you can discuss from the diversities, but from respect as well. If there are discussions that there are, but that everyone is in the same table.

According to Juan González, the United States “has been very respectful of the different perspectives” of the countries.

migrant caravan

Despite the disagreement, it is possible to reach agreements on issues such as economic growth, post-pandemic recovery, the fight against global warming and especially migration.

Without going any further, on Monday, opening day, in southern Mexico a caravan of 11,000 Venezuelan migrants plans to head towards the United States, whose border some 7,000 try to cross every day. undocumented migrants.

And migration can take its toll on Biden in the midterm elections November, in which he could lose control of Congress.

Washington hopes to reach an agreement on a Declaration on migration, to integrate migrants in host countries and better manage the crisis.

Economic development is another general concern, but it requires the disbursement of funds and it remains to be seen if the United States surprises with an announcement.

“I don’t see the administration appearing with strong financial commitments,” but rather “competing on equal terms with at least a certain number of partners” such as Costa Rica, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Canada, Chile, Uruguay and Colombia, Manuel said. Orozco, director of the Migration, Remittances and Development Program of the Inter-American Dialogue in a virtual meeting with the press, specifying that he does not rule out including Mexico in the bloc.

Benjamin Gedan, of the Latin American Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, estimates that “the real barometer for this summit will be whether the United States offers significant access to new markets, loans and foreign assistance to support economic recovery and infrastructure in the region”.

A diplomatic level the summit, which will end on June 10 and is celebrated against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, will allow Biden to meet with some presidents. Among them the Brazilian Jair Bolsonaro, an ally of former US President Donald Trump and with whom the current tenant of the White House has not met in almost a year and a half that he has been in office.

He will talk with him about bilateral and global issues, food insecurity, the economic response to the pandemic, health and global warming, since “all the priorities for the summit are areas in which Brazil plays an incredibly important role”, Juan Gonzalez listed.

The success of the summit, for Rebecca Bill Chavez, president of the Inter-American Dialogue, will depend on whether it serves “as a launching pad for commitment to the region” and “focuses on issues that resonate” with it, on “shared priorities” such as the migration.

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