President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has made good on his threat to boycott the Summit of the Americas, held in Los Ángeles.
The snub comes after the president warned that Mexico would not be attending the summit unless the Biden administration also invited delegations from Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.
“The US continues to maintain reservations regarding the lack of democratic space and the human rights situations in Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. … As result, these nations will not be welcome,” said a press statement from the US state department.
The absence of Mexico’s delegation from the summit has not gone unnoticed and forced organizers to reorganize several of the activities and discussions.
“It is rather silly to have a summit of the Americas without the attendance of key countries such as Mexico and Cuba, don’t you think?” said López Obrador.
The aim of the Summit of the Americas is to gather heads of state and government from the continent to discuss common policy issues and challenges.
The exclusion of Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua also drew criticism from Chilean President Gabriel Boric, who referred to the snub as “a grave mistake.”
The controversy among the guest list is seen as undermining the summit’s wider goal of strengthening the relationship between the United States and Latin America, which was badly eroded during the Trump presidency.
During the Trump administration, the summit in 2018 was attended by only 17 of the region’s 35 heads of state.
“A summit with critical partners missing would also deliver a huge blow to Biden’s attempts to find solutions to US domestic problems that range from border security to immigration flows to the rise in oil and gas prices,” said Aileen Teague of the Quincy Institute.