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US govt’s Summit of the Americas fails: Boycott by presidents of Mexico, Bolivia, Honduras, Guatemala

As the US government’s Summit of the Americas opens in Los Angeles, California, the presidents of Mexico, Bolivia, Honduras, and Guatemala have refused to attend, protesting the exclusion of Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua.

Summit Americas Mexico Bolivia Honduras

The US government’s Summit of the Americas started on June 6 in Los Angeles, California. And the event proved to be a major diplomatic failure for the Joe Biden administration.

Washington refused to invite the socialist governments of Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua.

So to protest this exclusion, the presidents of Mexico, Bolivia, and Honduras boycotted the summit. Guatemala’s president also chose to skip the conference.

This means heads of state representing Latin American countries with a total population of more than 200 million people – a significant percentage of the Americas – refused to attend Washington’s Summit of the Americas.

Mexico’s President AMLO boycotts the summit

The most significant absence was Mexico’s left-wing president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, known popularly by the acronym AMLO.

“I am not going to the summit because not all of the countries of the Americas were invited,” AMLO explained in his morning press conference on June 6.

“I believe in the need to change the policy that has been imposed for centuries, the exclusion, the desire to dominate, the lack of respect for the sovereignty of the countries and the independence of every country,” the Mexican president explained.

“There cannot be a Summit of the Americas if all of the countries of the American continent do not participate,” López Obrador continued. “We consider that to be the old policy of interventionism, of a lack of respect for nations and their peoples.”

AMLO criticized the US Republican Party for its “extremist” positions against Cuba and racist policies against immigrants. But he also pointed out that some prominent figures in the Democratic Party, such as New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez, have also contributed to “hate” against Cuba and hawkish meddling in Latin America’s sovereign affairs.

“I don’t accept hegemonies,” AMLO added. “Not of China, not of Russia, not of the United States. All countries, no matter how small they are, are free and are independent.”

López Obrador said that Mexico’s foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, would instead attend the Summit of the Americas.

AMLO’s absence is especially significant given that, in addition to being neighbors with a 3,000-kilometer border, the United States and Mexico’s are each other’s top trading partners.

Mexico is the second-largest country in Latin America, in terms of population. It also has the second-biggest economy in the region.

Bolivia’s President Luis Arce boycotts the summit

Joining AMLO in condemning the US government’s policy of exclusion was Bolivia’s socialist President Luis Arce.

Bolivia’s foreign ministry confirmed on June 6 that Arce is not joining the summit either. Instead, the country’s ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS), Héctor Arce, is attending.

In a Twitter thread the week before, Arce insisted that “it is time for the government of the United States to put an end to the senseless and criminal economic, commercial, and financial blockade that weighs on Cuba, as well as the more than 500 unilateral coercive sanctions imposed on Venezuela and Nicaragua.”

The Bolivian leader added, “With blockades and sanctions, a sustainable, resilient, and equitable future will never be able to be built in the hemisphere, as the next Summit of the Americas is proposing.”

Honduras’ President Xiomara Castro boycotts the summit

Honduras’ new left-wing President Xiomara Castro is boycotting the Summit of the Americas as well.

On May 28, Castro tweeted, “I will only attend the summit if all of the countries of America are invited without exception.”

On June 6, the Honduran president made good on her promise, and her government confirmed that Foreign Minister Eduardo Enrique Reina would attend instead.

Guatemala’s President Alejandro Giammattei boycotts the summit

While the majority of the leaders not attending the Summit of the Americas are left-wing, even Guatemala’s right-wing president, Alejandro Giammattei, announced that he will not be present.

Several officials from Giammattei’s government have been sanctioned by the United States, and he is protesting the Biden administration’s policies with his absence.

Protests planned against summit

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM), which represents 15 states, similarly threatened to boycott the summit if Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua were excluded.

Several countries in the Caribbean did confirm they are attending, however. It is not clear how many are boycotting.

Brazil’s far-right leader, Jair Bolsonaro, had initially threatened not to attend the summit. Washington responded by promising Bolsonaro that it would welcome him to the White House and give him one-on-one meetings with Biden.

The far-right Brazilian autocrat thus changed his mind and decided to attend.

Bolsonaro is joined by the right-wing leaders of Colombia and Ecuador, as well as the centrist leaders of Chile and Argentina. (The conservative president of Uruguay, Luis Lacalle Pou, had planned to join, but was ultimately unable to do so because he got Covid-19.)

The Summit of the Americas was first convened by the United States in 1994, after the end of the first cold war, as a way for Washington to expand its hegemony in Latin America and the Caribbean.

That same year, the US government signed the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a neoliberal deal with Mexico and Canada, which devastated Mexico’s local economy and fueled a wave of mass migration.

Numerous grassroots organizations, left-wing social movements, and labor unions have organized an alternative People’s Summit for Democracy to protest the US government’s Summit of the Americas.

The People’s Summit is hosting a series of demonstrations, panels, concerts, and cultural activities in California from June 8 to 10.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Rodney Little Mustache

    2022-06-07 at 20:32

    Oki niiskuni: (Niitsitapi Respectful Greeting)
    I hope and pray that this comment finds you and your readers in good health and great spirits.

    GENOCIDE and its DENIAL is happening right now as this summit happens.
    You speak of countries not attending, yet there is no voice for canada’s own First Nation, Inuit & Metis peoples or the united states Native Americans.

    Tonight canadian news is now reporting the recovery of more than 190 remains of CHILDREN found on the lands of former church run schools known as residential schools, the number is now 4,500+. There are ongoing searches at the 139 schools.
    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/sagkeeng-first-nation-residential-school-site-search-1.6479488

    Like canada the united states is starting to deal with its own dark history as the horrific their own boarding school system is now being shared.
    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/5/11/us-govt-at-least-53-burial-sites-at-indigenous-boarding-schools

    If the Government of canada had its way i would not have graduated from one of the top universities in the world, the University of British Columbia. It was there i got in volved with the social justice movements and spoke up, educated and corrected profs when needed, about First Nations issues. It was there that i learned more about what is really happening to my own First Nations peoples, and I am Piikani, Niitsitapi.

    I believe NOT ONE of the people from the united states and canada will even bring this news of MURDERED CHILDREN.

    Also, i add this link to a podcast that is presented by canada’s own CBC – https://www.cbc.ca/listen/cbc-podcasts/1062-kuper-island?share=true
    Kuper island – it is now at 5, 30 min podcasts – what church and state and business have done to CHILDREN is HORRIFIC yet NOT ONE ARREST OR OUTCRY from world media… The SILENCE is the saddest thing about this issue.

    Recently that old rich woman in englad celebrated a jubilee, yet she remains silent of the church of england, of which shew is head, involvement. No apology or acknowledgement, just a smile and wave – sick.

    WHO SPEAKS FOR THE CHILDREN?

    I pray that you and others who speak up for social injustice remain safe, lord knows we all need each other.

    Maistoo’awaastaan (Crow Flag) BA
    Piikani, Niitsitapi

    (ps: no capitals on words for places and people as they do not deserve that respect – yet)

  2. OscarRomero

    2022-06-27 at 20:47

    I don’t believe your article (above) is correct as far as Guatemala is concerned. I recall reading in the Guatemalan press that Giammattei was waiting for an invitation. When it didn’t arrive, he assumed that Biden was boycotting him and announced that he would not be going. The next day or so he received the invitation but he had already announced he wasn’t going. He sent his Minister of Foreign Affairs and there were many photos of Búcaro with Biden and Guatemala’s website for Minex prominently displays the document from that infamous meeting in Los Angeles.

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