Bolivian President Luis Arce Catacora said Friday in Havana that buddies getting together was hardly a Summit, in reference to the US Government's decision not to invite Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba to the regional gathering of heads of state next month in Los Angeles.
From Mexico City, Andrés Manuel López Obrador made similar remarks.
If we are going to hold a Summit of the Americas, all the countries have to be there, otherwise it is not a Summit of the Americas, Arce stressed. If they want to hold a meeting of friends, fine, let them do it, but they cannot call it a Summit of the Americas, he added.
Arce is in Cuba attending the XXI Summit of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America - Peoples' Trade Agreement (ALBA-TCP).
The Bolivian leader once again announced he would not go to the California gathering if the logic of exclusion persists.
Unfortunately, we do not agree that there should be ideological discrimination, Arce went on. He argued that in every family there is one member who has different beliefs from the rest, but that does not mean that he is not a member of the family and still belongs in a family meeting.
The United States has to understand that it has to have the amplitude to be able to sit down with all Latin American countries to talk about common issues that affect the entire continent.
Meanwhile, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) also insisted Friday he would not attend the Summit of the Americas if the US does not invite all countries.
”We are going to wait to see what they resolve. In any case, Mexico will participate (at a ministerial level), but if all the countries are not invited, I will not attend, AMLO said once again in his morning press briefing known as La Mañanera.
Consistent with Arce's remarks, AMLO said it would not be the Summit of the Americas but the summit of the friends of the United States.
López Obrador said his US colleague Joseph Biden was good people, who must be under pressures from vested interest groups and threats and blackmail, as always.
It is no longer time to exclude anyone, it is time for brotherhood, dialogue, and reconciliation, AMLO said. Hed also called for the creation of organizations that protect the rights of all countries equally.
Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel has already announced in Havana that he will not attend in any case.
Among the excluded is Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro. Uruguay's President Luis Lacalle Pou said in a recent interview with the BBC that he did not believe the Caracas administration was ready to call for open, clean elections. I think Maduro is not willing to call free elections; he is not willing to have democracy in Venezuela, Lacalle pointed out. Asked if he thought Maduro was a dictator, Lacalle replied that of course he is.
Uruguay has just received the visit from Biden's envoy Chris Dodd, who is touring the region to secure the presence of as many Latin American leaders as possible at the Summit.
Lacalle has been critical of Biden's approach to Latin America, saying the US has many incorrect assumptions. They believe that from the Mexican border down to Tierra del Fuego we all have the same problems and the same needs, he said.
Dodd met in Montevideo with Lacalle and also with Foreign Minister Francisco Bustillo. During that encounter, Dodd highlighted Uruguay's role as a reference in values and democratic institutions in the Western Hemisphere.
The US envoy also pledged to strengthen a joint commitment to building a sustainable, resilient and equitable future.”