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Montevideo, February 22nd 2024 - 11:08 UTC



US now turns to Cuba and Venezuela, possibly to salvage LA Summit

Thursday, May 19th 2022 - 19:38 UTC
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Jean-Pierre insisted the invitations had not been yet forwarded Jean-Pierre insisted the invitations had not been yet forwarded

US President Joseph Biden picked up the message several leaders sent him and is said to be considering a possible U-turn on his decision not to invite Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua to the June 6-10 Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, California.

 After Mexico's Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), Guatemala's Alejandro Giammattei, and Bolivia's Luis Arce Catacora threatened not to attend the event if other countries were excluded, Biden is now maneuvering to avoid what would be looked on as a diplomatic failure, at a time when world relations are under the spotlight due to the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine coupled with Finland and Sweden interested in joining NATO.

In such a scenario, the Biden Administration announced this week the resumption of commercial flights to Cuba beyond Havana, the elimination of the limit on remittances, and the recovery of a family reunification program, which were all part of his presidential campaign promises.

One day later, he vowed to lift some economic sanctions against Venezuela, including the ban on US oil company Chevron to negotiate with the state-owned PDVSA, in exchange for the reactivation of the dialogue between the government of Nicolás Maduro and the opposition, which was taking place in Mexico City.

The 15-member Caribbean Community (Caricom) also doubted its participation at the Summit, while the presidents of Argentina (Alberto Fernández), Chile (Gabriel Boric Font), and Honduras (Xiomara Castro) have not ruled out their participation but insisted there should be no exclusions. Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro is still weighing his attendance; he is not particularly on good terms with Biden after having openly supported his predecessor Donald Trump.

After a virtual meeting earlier this week between Biden's advisor for the summit, Christopher Dodd and AMLO, Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard explained his country's stance was clear and it had not changed an iota.

Newly-appointed White House Spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre insisted the invitations had not been yet forwarded, although Undersecretary for Latin America Brian Nichols believed it was not likely that Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua would receive one.

Biden is also trying to secure the participation of his closest allies in the summit, such as Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso, with whom he has conferred on the telephone recently, while First Lady Jill Biden is on a tour of Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Panama.

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