Mexico denounced Washington's exclusion of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua from the Los Angeles meeting as an exposure of U.S. double standards on democracy.
On Monday, the Summit of the Americas convened by U.S. President Joe Biden got off to a rough start after several Latin American countries refused to participate in a gathering that excluded Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela. This refusal marks a milestone in the continent's multilateral diplomacy.
"It's time to change the dominant political practice," Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) told a daily press conference on Monday, confirming his absence from the summit due to Washington's exclusion of these countries.
"So is it going to be the Summit of the Americas, or is it going to be the Summit of the 'Friends of America'?" he questioned.
Mexican Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard denounced Washington's exclusion of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua from the regional summit as an exposure of U.S. double standards on democracy. For good measure, taking advantage of its role as summit host to bar these countries from the gathering is "questionable from a Pan-American legality issue," he said.
At a press conference prior to his departure for Los Angeles to participate in the June 6-10 summit, Ebrard said that Mexico will press for an end to the "inhumane" decades-old U.S. trade embargo against Cuba during the summit.
AMLO's brush-off of the summit rendered futile months of work by Washington to convince him to attend. Besides Mexico, the restricted guest list has also prompted pleas from Guatemala, Honduras, Argentina, Bolivia, El Salvador and some Caribbean countries to either boycott or dispatch lower-level delegations, following Obrador's lead.
These came as an embarrassment to the White House, which dismissed last week questions from the press as to why it had yet to publish a list of summit attendees with just hours to go before the summit. Experts believed that Mexico's act alone would discourage Washington from fulfilling its stated objectives, including immigration, on which any action would require Mexico's cooperation.
In response to Washington's divisive moves, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has expressed his government's "firm, strong and total rejection of the imperialist vision that intends to exclude the peoples of the Americas" from a regional gathering.
The Cuban government said that there is no single reason to justify the U.S. government's "undemocratic and arbitrary exclusion" of any country of the hemisphere from the 9th Summit of the Americas. Washington, abusing its privilege of being the host country, decided at a very early stage to exclude Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua from the summit, and used pressure, threats and blackmail against governments in the region.
"Cuba appreciates and respects the worthy, courageous and legitimate position of numerous governments in defense of the participation of all, under equal conditions. Our region demands cooperation, not exclusion; solidarity, not meanness; respect, not arrogance; sovereignty and self-determination, not subordination," the Cuban diplomacy stated.
Meanwhile, having tested positive for COVID-19, Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou on Monday officially canceled his trip to the ninth Summit of the Americas.
The Summit of the Americas has begun marked by the absence of #Cuba, #Venezuela and #Nicaragua and also of the president of #Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who decided not to attend due to the policy of exclusion carried out by the #USA pic.twitter.com/ZCsFlvrpea— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) June 8, 2022