President Joe Biden arrives this Wednesday in Los Angeles, at the Summit of the Americas, with a weakened position. If he wanted to unite the continent behind an American agenda that some consider conservative, he has not succeeded.
Among the most striking aspects is the absence of most of the presidents of Central America, except for those of Panama and Costa Rica, even though the migratory issue, considered key in the area, will be one of the focuses of the debate in the forum. In addition, this absence is a serious blow to the already existing agreements that imply the retention of possible migrants in those countries pending an entry permit to the United States in exchange for a financial subsidy.
In addition, at this time between 2,000 and 5,000 people walk from southern Mexico to the US border, despite the fact that they were already warned that they would not be allowed to enter.
“President Biden does not seem to have internalized that desperate people do not understand political priorities and many of his activists and leaders have said that they hope to put pressure on the summit. Something, by the way, that is very difficult but puts the governments in a commitment, ”he commented on Tuesday to the chain msnbcthe Mexican analyst León Gutiérrez.
The expert believes that the absence of these Central American presidents, beyond responding in some cases to the non-invitation of Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela, also has another political background: that Washington “does not offer guarantees of entry to anyone and has not managed to convince potential immigrants to stay in their countries.
The fact that Deputy Secretary of State Brian Nichols have said in an interview that “the border is closed” does not mean much to the thousands of people fleeing violence, insecurity and poverty. After all, none of the Central American countries can guarantee the social pacification of the region.
Meanwhile, the Mexican president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, did not appear in Los Angeles due to the absence of Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela, as he had anticipated on more than one occasion. AMLO, as they call him by his initials, tried to negotiate the invitations with Biden, but to no avail. Perhaps because in July he has scheduled another meeting at the White House in July, he then sent his foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, to the summit.
In their next meeting, the presidents of Mexico and the United States will discuss “bilateral issues” that naturally include the border situation, according to official sources. By the way, the Mexican government has offered those who are now marching to the border a package of visas so that they can find work in the country.
The United States did not invite Nicaragua, it argued, because of the “serious human rights violations” in that nation, which, in Washington’s opinion, does not meet democratic parameters. But the truth is that President Daniel Ortega had already excluded himself from the summit, even before the absence of his country, Cuba and Venezuela was a matter of contention. The Nicaraguan argued that the forum was not going to solve any problem if, as had been suspected for months, Cuba was not going to be present and the White House would impose its agenda.
Another of those who will not be is the Salvadoran Nayid Bukele, a young man of Lebanese origin with a very unique style of government and whom his opponents brand as authoritarian. But Bukele does not need to demand much from the White House once his country has been graced, since the presidency of George W. Bush, with a “TPS”, that is, the migratory protection status of its citizens, which is what all Central American countries aspire. Incidentally, Nicaragua has already had it for 20 years along with the “Nacara Law”, with a similar purpose.
Honduras is another case. President Xiomara Castro, wife of former president Manuel Zelaya, does not want to travel to Los Angeles either. The argument is the same as AMLO’s: the summit does not include all the governments of the continent. “We are not going to be in a meeting that excludes countries from the meeting. It is not a meeting of ‘the Americas,’” explained its foreign minister, Eduardo Enrique Reina, to Radio Cinco, in Tegucigalpa.
Guatemala remains. President Alejandro Giammattei has said that he does not travel in response to the criticism that the United States has made about his decision to re-elect the attorney general, Consuelo Porras, to whom Washington points out an alleged lack of commitment in the fight against corruption. .
“It was going to cause a stir, especially in that country, and thank God we have Mexico involved… If they are not going to invite me to the summit, I have already sent them to say that I am not going to go anyway,” said the president. , curiously during a reception at the American embassy. But Guatemala received the invitation from him, despite the fact that, according to the State Department, the Guatemalan prosecutor “is not committed” to confronting corruption or collaborating in this regard with the US authorities.
In this way, the absences of Central America at the summit are completed, with the only exceptions being Presidents Laurentino Cortizo, from Panama, and Rodrigo Chaves, from Costa Rica. But ultimately, as the Mexican analyst León Gutiérrez recalls, the problem of the Central American countries with the United States is, basically, the question of poverty. “The (Americans) do not understand that a poor person does not lose anything. Who loses, in this case (with the absences), is the rich man, President Biden”, he considered.