Those absent from the Summit of the Americas: a great shadow

The absences of Venezuela and Nicaragua, and doubts about Cuba, have broken the meaning of the Summit of the Americas next week in Los Angeles, where the US wants to promote a great migration pact without the presence of three key countries in this ambit.

To date, the government of President Joe Biden has avoided publishing the list of guests for the event, which will take place from June 6 to 10, amid warnings from countries such as Mexico, Honduras and some territories of the Caribbean Community ( Caricom), which could boycott the summit due to absences.

Washington has been blunt about the non-participation of Venezuela and Nicaragua, and he has been lukewarm about that of Cuba, despite the fact that in recent weeks he has resumed contacts with Havana on migration and has withdrawn some sanctions on Caracas to facilitate dialogue with the opposition.

Atlantic Council expert Jason Marczak, who directs the Adrienne Arsht Center for Latin America of that laboratory of ideas, told Efe that it would have been “very difficult” for the US to invite the presidents of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, and Nicaragua Daniel Ortega.

In his opinion, these two rulers are not interested in working jointly with other nations to reach a migratory agreement, since they carry out actions that destabilize the continent.

For this reason, it makes more sense for Marczak for Washington to promote a pact with the countries that receive migrants in order to coordinate their policies on this matter.

“Migrants and refugees leave Nicaragua, Venezuela, not for reasons of the migration policy of Maduro or Ortega, but because of legal repression, the economy and political repression,” said the analyst, for whom neither Maduro nor Ortegan go to change the actions that cause citizens to leave their countries.

Meanwhile, pending confirmation of the attendance or otherwise of a Cuban delegation at the summit, the US expert remarked that for some countries of the region has been “a priority” promote the participation of “some level of the Government of Cuba.”


Given the lack of clarity on the part of Washington, the Cuban government seems to have ruled itself out. The island’s president himself, Miguel Díaz-Canel, assured last week that he “under no circumstances” would participate in the summit.

The possibility that a second level government delegation or a representation of Cuban civil society come to Los Angeles it has been fading on his part as the date approaches.

The final Cuban slam came with the recent celebration in Havana of a summit of leaders of the Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), which staged the closed support of this forum for Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, its main members, who puffed up their chests in the face of exclusion.

For the Mexican academic María Cristina Rosas, from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), the Biden Administration has put itself in a predicament regardless of the final decision it makes.

“Biden is looking bad with God and with the devil: it looks bad with the Republicans, it looks bad with a part of the Cuban community in the US and, on the other hand, it gives Cuba many weapons so that it continues to blame it for the ills that afflict it,” he said in an interview with Eph.

In this same line, the former Cuban diplomat Carlos Alzugaray abounded, who pointed out that Washington’s position was an error. "With Cuba there are no middle terms. (Barack) Obama was perfectly aware. (Bill) Clinton paid dearly for having tried to swim between two waters"he argued in statements to Efe.

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In his opinion, the US is repeating the veto on “failed policies” and diverting attention from the important problems of the region: "That doesn’t suit anyone", assured. Rosas highlighted at this point the “power” of the Cuban-American lobby, which he considers the “best” among Hispanic communities in the US when it comes to influencing the country’s foreign policy.

Alzugaray believed that Cuba is being harmed by not being able to participate in the hemispheric forum, but at the same time it benefits politically from exclusion, due to the regional support it has obtained -especially Mexico-, and the demonstration of the "inefficiency" of Washington.

He also pointed out that Cuban migration to the United States -whose figures have increased notably in recent months- is an issue that can be discussed in a regional forum, but must be addressed bilaterally.


The self-discarding that Cuba seems to have chosen was not an option for Venezuela and Nicaragua, since the White House made the resounding and irrevocable decision not to include them on the list of invited countries.

Of three, Ortega was the one who showed the greatest disinterest in participating in the summit and downplayed the importance of the continental event that -considers- "does not exalt anyone".

"We have to make ourselves respected, we cannot be asking the Yankee, begging him that we want to go to his summit. We are not stimulated by its summit"Ortega argued on May 18 during a government act in Managua.

However, Maduro is convinced that their voices will be heard in Los Angeles, "say what you say" the host, whom he belittles, by overriding his will and ensuring that the outcasts will also be there.

"Whatever they do in Washington, the voice of Venezuela, the voice of Cuba and the voice of Nicaragua will reach Los Angeles in the great protests of the people and our voice will be in that room (…) we will be there with our truth"said the president on May 24 in Caracas.

As the director of the Center for Political Studies of the Andrés Bello Catholic University, Benigno Alarcón, explained to Efe, it is most likely that Maduro’s words hide the plan to organize protests in Los Angeles, parallel to the summit, as they did on occasions. both Venezuela and Nicaragua.

"What they are going to try to do is what they have done on other occasions, which is to finance some groups to protest in the place where the summit is being held. They have done it other times and under other circumstances. They have financed groups joining a protest"Alarcon noted.

But neither the absence of these countries nor the demonstrations that can be organized around the summit are going to overshadow, in his opinion, the plan to promote a migration pact, as contemplated in the official agenda, but quite the opposite.

For Alarcón, it should be the host countries of the migrants from the three excluded nations, with the US at the head, that should address any issue that has to do with the agreement, so it will not affect the issuers are absent.

"Those who have to agree on this pact are the recipient countries, to see how many each receive and how they can help, and what capacity each country has to receive and other issues of interest in this matter."assured the Venezuelan expert.


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