US: Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela will not be invited to Summit of Americas

Washington, Jun 6 (EFE).- The United States did not invite Cuba, Nicaragua or Venezuela to the Summit of the Americas due to the situation of democracy and human rights in those three nations, a top US official confirmed to EFE on Monday.

“The US continues to have doubts about the lack of democratic spaces and the human rights situation in Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela. As a result, Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela will not be invited to participate in this summit,” the official, who asked for anonymity, said.

To date, the Joe Biden administration had avoided officially confirming which countries had been invited to the conclave, which begins on Monday in Los Angeles and will conclude on Friday.

According to the official, however, representatives of non-governmental organizations from Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua are registered to participate this week in the hemispheric forum.

The US, as the host country, has the right to decide which countries may attend the summit and, thus, in recent weeks Washington has been having “broad” and “frank” discussions with other regional partners regarding the question of whether or not to invite Havana, Managua and Caracas, the official said.

Some countries like Mexico and Honduras, as well as nations within the Caribbean Community (Caricom) on various occasions had threatened to boycott the summit over any forced absences.

In fact, on Monday, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador confirmed that he will not attend the event in person because all countries in the region have not been invited. Mexico will, however, reportedly send top-level officials to represent it at the conclave.

The US had categorically refused to invite Venezuela and Nicaragua, and Washington had expressed only lukewarm support for inviting Cuba, despite the fact that in recent weeks it had resumed contacts with Havana on migration matters and had lifted certain sanctions on Caracas to facilitate the Nicolas Maduro government’s dialogue with the opposition there.

In any case, Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel had ruled out participating in the summit two weeks ago, saying that “under no conditions” would he take part.

Meanwhile, on Monday Havana rejected the formal exclusion of Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela from the summit, calling it “discriminatory and unacceptable.”

The Cuban government said in a statement that the US was “abusing the privilege accorded to it as the host country.”

Cuba also called the US move “anti-democratic and arbitrary” and said it was evidence that Washington “conceived and is using this high-level dialogue mechanism as an instrument of its hegemonic system in the hemisphere,” adding that “one cannot speak about ‘The Americas’ without including all the countries making up the hemisphere.”

Cuba also thanked Lopez Obrador and the presidents of Bolivia and Honduras, Luis Arce and Xiomara Castro, respectively, along with members of Caricom, for their support.

The leaders of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua in late May convened a surprise meeting of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), of which they are the main members, to brag about being excluded from the summit in a gesture of defiance to the US.

One of the main US objectives at the summit is to achieve a migration agreement to deal with the challenges confronting the region.

EFE bpm/eat/bp

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