This week, leaders of the Americas gather in Los Angeles for the Ninth Summit of the Americas. This is the only gathering where the leaders of these continents meet. However, the summit is not going smoothly because US President Joe Biden, who also hosted the summit, did not invite all the leaders of these continents.
The leaders of Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuela are not welcome at the summit, which is the reason for the absence of other leaders. Particularly distressing is the absence of a South American neighbour: Mexico. Biden did not invite left-wing leaders on human rights abuses.
Leaders from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay appear in California. American expert Quinn Petersen points out that “the debate about the summit is more about the organization of the summit itself than about the content.” We mainly talk about the economy, democracy and migration flows. But the biggest debate is that a number of leaders were not invited.
Petersen says the absence of a number of countries makes the debate on immigration more difficult. These migration flows ensure that the pressure on the southern border of the United States is enormous. For Biden, this is very sensitive politically. He therefore hopes to reach agreements that will reduce immigration pressure in return for improving the economies of South American countries.
Scratch on the face
The Mexican president may be absent, but that does not mean that Mexico is not represented at the top at all. Petersen asserts that “the Secretary of State is present, but it is a big scratch in the face, in particular, of the United States itself, for the Mexican president to skip the summit this time.”
The first summit was in 1994 in Miami and the conference in the United States for the second time this year. The previous US summit was in the Peruvian capital, Lima, and until then disagreements over authoritarian regimes in Venezuela and Cuba in particular were divisive. Then President Donald Trump canceled his participation at the last minute, much to the chagrin of his colleagues on the continent.
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