The United States said on Monday it was looking for ways to represent the people of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua at a summit next month after threats to boycott the exclusion of their governments.
The United States welcomes Latin American leaders to Los Angeles for the Summit of the Americas June 6-10, as part of President Joe Biden’s efforts to advance democracy and tackle immigration and climate change.
US officials said they officially contacted other countries last week to attend and may receive more invitations.
“We are still evaluating options on how best to integrate the voices of the Cuban, Venezuelan and Nicaraguan people into the summit process,” an administration official said.
The State Department has previously expressed confidence in the “strong” turnout in Los Angeles, without disclosing the list of invitees yet.
The senior US official in Latin America, Brian Nichols, said earlier that he did not expect invitations from officials from Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela, because the governments did not respect the 2001 Inter-American Democratic Charter.
But Cuba has been invited to summits in 2015 in Panama and 2018 in Peru. Since then, Biden has mostly stuck to unlike his predecessor Donald Trump’s communist American openness to the island.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, left, has threatened to boycott the summit if the United States does not invite all countries.
Since then, the leaders of Argentina, Bolivia, Honduras and the 14-nation Caribbean bloc have questioned their participation, while Chile has joined calls for the widest possible participation.
Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said Lopez Obrador raised the issue in virtual talks last week with Chris Dodd, the former US senator who is serving as Biden’s special adviser at the summit.
“It was a very frank conversation,” Ebrard said.
He said the Mexican president had made it clear that “there should be no exceptions” and that the region was ready to “enter a new historical stage” of unity like the European Union.
Another question mark is whether Biden will invite Juan Guaido, the opposition leader whom Washington considers the legitimate interim president of Venezuela.
“Award-winning alcohol trailblazer. Hipster-friendly internetaholic. Twitter ninja. Infuriatingly humble beer lover. Pop culture nerd.”