MEXICO CITY — Confusion over invitations, unclear agenda and growing boycott threats.
A gathering of Western Hemisphere leaders next month to be hosted by the United States and to showcase America’s revival of leadership in the region risks a publicity failure.
less than 3 weeks left Americas Summit Rather than highlight the Biden administration’s vision in Los Angeles, largely ignored by former President Donald J. Trump, there are fears that the event could expose America’s weakening ability to advance the agenda in the region.
A growing number of Latin American and Caribbean heads of state, including the presidents of Mexico and Brazil, the two largest countries in the region, are considering not even appearing, threatening to deliver a humiliating blow to the White House.
No official invitation was sent, and the White House A final decision has been made about who to invite. But in some countries, there is already uncertainty about how the summit will address pressing challenges at a time when the region is struggling to recover from a brutal economic downturn caused by epidemics, soaring inflation, environmental degradation and the dismantling of democratic institutions.
The 900-word summit-related memo sent by the State Department to members of the House of Representatives last month had no specific goals, and preliminary meetings held by regional representatives were characterized by confusion and a marked absence of migration from the agenda, according to Congressional officials. One member and one participant.
A spokesperson for the National Security Council (NSC), who is helping organize the event, said the summit was the Biden administration’s “most important event for our hemisphere,” adding that an official invitation would be sent out soon. The NSC and the State Department declined to comment on the boycott threat.
Juan Gonzalez, Director General of the Western Hemisphere of the National Security Council (NSC), said: Americas Quarterly Magazine In March, Cuban officials and the presidents of Venezuela and Nicaragua were not included.
Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obrador said he would not attend the meeting unless governments were invited.
López Obrador’s threat was echoed by the left-leaning president Bolivia And Honduras. A group of Caribbean countries is Threatening to boycott Meeting when Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido is invited to represent Venezuela on behalf of President Nicolas Maduro.
The United States recognizes Guaido as Venezuela’s head of state, despite Maduro’s effective control of the country.
“If there are exceptions and everyone is not invited, the delegation of the Mexican government will go, but I will not,” Prime Minister López Obrador said at a press conference on Tuesday.
Several Brazilian government officials say Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro may also be absent from the summit. The Brazilian president has maintained a cold affair with Washington, and has promised that the meeting will be the first meeting between Bolsonaro and Biden as presidents.
Still, US diplomats say some presidents’ hesitation is aimed at appealing to nationalists or left-wing voters and may not reflect their ultimate decision.
Some foreign policy observers also said uncertainty in planning is common for such regional events, which tend to focus on symbolic rather than concrete solutions.
Dan Restrepo, a fellow at the Center for American Progress, a research institute and former director of Western Hemisphere affairs at the Department of National Security, said, “When the US government decides to do something like this summit, three weeks are forever.” said Board of Directors.
But the boycott threat highlights the challenges the Biden administration faces in advancing its interests in the Americas, where the United States has long played a major role. According to an official familiar with planning, the administration is seeking, among other things, meaningful regional agreements on undocumented immigrants ahead of the midterm elections.
Brian Winter said, “The Latin American government wants to show Washington that the United States is no longer at the top of the table and that this is an equal summit, instead of letting Uncle Sam unilaterally decide who’s on the guest list.” said Editor of Americas Quarterly, focusing on American policy in the hemisphere.
After being banned from the first six summits of the Americas, Cuba has been invited to the last two in Panama and Peru.
The Biden administration’s original plans to exclude Cuba partially reflect domestic political pressures, including an attempt not to provoke Senator Robert Menendez, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and outspoken critic of the Cuban government.
“President Biden has made it clear that he is focused on restoring America’s trust and leadership in a global campaign to combat authoritarian forces,” Menendez said in an email. “The President is delivering on that promise.”
It will be more difficult to achieve a viable migration deal if López Obrador does not attend the summit.
Mexico is the largest source of immigrants to the United States, and the Mexican government is working with Washington to stop the flow of other nationals traveling to the United States border through Central America.
“There is little point in having an American summit without the presidents of Mexico and Brazil,” said Jorge Castañeda, a former Mexican foreign minister who now teaches international relations at New York University. “The summit has failed.”
Bolsonaro’s lack of participation could hamper important progress on the Biden administration’s other two major foreign policy goals: climate change and defending democracy.
And the long silence between Biden and Bolsonaro led to tense diplomatic relations.
During Biden’s presidency, Bolsonaro moved Brazil closer to Russia, expanded the policies that led to deforestation in the Amazon, and questioned the integrity of his own elections. U.S. officials personally pursued different policies and occasionally openly criticized Bolsonaro.
The most pressing issue is the Brazilian presidential election in October. After months of questioning Brazil’s voting system, the Biden administration fears that Bolsonaro’s defeat could challenge the outcome.
At the summit, officials from the United States and other countries could pressure Bolsonaro to respect the democratic process and publicly express support for Brazil’s electoral system.
However, it appears now that Bolsonaro may not travel to Los Angeles and the summit has been canceled from his agenda, according to a source familiar with his schedule, who has spoken on condition of anonymity as plans have not been announced.
Reuters reported this week He had no plans to attend.
Prime Minister Bolsonaro’s office said it had not received any information about the schedule for the meeting via email. Brazil’s Vice President Hamilton Mourão said in a text message that the president had not yet decided whether to attend.
Ernesto Araújo, who until last year served as foreign minister for Bolsonaro, said, “If it is an empty summit, it is sending a message to the world that there is no coordination or commonality between the American countries.”
If Bolsonaro also attended the summit and former Vice President Biden made a public statement about the safety of the Brazilian presidential election, he might be on the lookout for an awkward political situation.
“The risk of getting bad headlines is too great,” said Thomas Traumann, spokesman for former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. “Will Biden Offer a Billion Dollar US Investment? no. So what does he have?”
Natalie Kitroeff and Oscar López contributed reporting for Mexico City, reporting by Michael Shear from Washington and André Spigariol from Brasilia, Brazil.