Andrés Manuel López Obrador twice appeared on the giant screen of the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, where the Summit of the Americas officially opened. This Wednesday was intended to convey the idea of unity and not only did the President of Mexico briefly appear on screen, but children and flags from Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua also participated on stage or on screens during the opening of this summit. With more absences than ever. At the ceremony, the President of the United States, Joe Biden, launched a message of unity, though, yes, unity among democracies.
“Democracy is the hallmark of the American Democratic Charter that emerged from the Third Summit of the Americas, and which embodies our unique commitment to democracy as a region,” the president said. “We meet again today at a time when democracy is under attack around the world, and we renew our conviction that democracy is not only the defining feature of America’s history, but also an essential component of its future,” Biden said.
It is the centerpiece of Biden’s foreign policy: the unity of democracies against dictatorships and authoritarian and authoritarian regimes. in Europe, dealing with Putin and the Ukraine war; In Asia, democracies are allied against China, and in America, where countries that do not meet democratic standards are left out of the top. Biden wanted to emphasize the “enormous power of democracies to make life better for everyone.”
“We do not always agree on everything. But because we are a democracy, we resolve our differences with mutual respect and dialogue.” The question is what can we achieve by working together as true partners with diverse capabilities, but with equality and mutual respect. In acknowledgment of both our individual sovereignty and our shared responsibilities,” he affirmed. As he began his speech, Biden was interrupted by the screams of two attendees, who were evacuated from the room.
The president invoked “the spirit of Miami” in reference to the first summit held in 1994. “This is hope for new possibilities,” he said at the ceremony, as there were musical numbers that confirmed that some things had not changed much. After years. Among these songs are Emilio and Gloria Estefan and a version of the kinga classic by Jose Alfredo Jimenez and one of Hugo Chávez’s favorite songs, performed by Vicente Fernandez’s grandson.
Speaking before Biden, US Vice President Kamala Harris noted some of the problems in the region, such as “the climate crisis, food insecurity, economic inequality, corruption and gender violence.” California Harris said that “new and innovative alliances” will be needed to deal with and that the summit is an opportunity to “launch new initiatives, start new talks, and build new alliances.” The summit puts forward proposals and initiatives, but it does not expect very tangible results yet.
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Pedro Castillo intervened in the ceremony because Peru was the previous summit host, four years earlier, and endorsed the historic phrase of US President James Monroe, then announced against European intervention on the continent. He concluded his speech “America for Americans” emphatically, after defining the meeting as a “valuable space for joint action” and describing the agenda of topics proposed by the United States as correct.
Attendees and absentees
From the beginning, preparations for the summit were characterized by a list of attendees and absentees. American diplomacy has tended to veto the governments of Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua due to the lack of democracy in those countries. However, he did not say this publicly and left the door open for additional invitations, as he repeatedly repeated. Mexico’s President, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, warned that he would not go to Los Angeles if those countries were not invited, and organizing the summit has since become a diplomatic nightmare for Washington.
Several countries also expressed their disagreement with the veto against Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua, and threatened to join the boycott. Biden finally managed to impress Argentine President Alberto Fernandez by offering him a visit to the White House next month. Jair Bolsonaro, who was not quite prepared to attend for other reasons, also finally showed up in exchange for a one-on-one meeting with Biden, which will take place on Thursday. However, before traveling to Los Angeles, he made some incendiary statements praising Donald Trump and considered that the established hoaxes cast doubt on Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election.
At the end of the summit, 22 heads of state and government attended, including Biden, and there are 8 other countries represented by their foreign ministers or other authorities. Among the main countries there are nine cases of absenteeism of heads of state for various reasons. The governments of the three countries that were vetoed were not represented in any way. In response to this veto, Mexico, Bolivia, and Honduras sent their foreign ministers. Nor the presidents of Guatemala and El Salvador, nor the president of Uruguay, who were planning to come, but contracted the virus for other reasons. And 14 countries expressed their rejection of the exceptions. These include Argentina, Chile, Peru, and Ecuador, among others. However, their heads of state traveled to Los Angeles. Thus, the Summit of the Americas is the least participating of the first level among the major countries on the continent.
At the first meeting of foreign ministers, Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, who replaced Lopez Obrador, described the exclusion of the three authoritarian regimes from the first summit on American soil since December 1994 in Miami. “We do not accept the principle of intervention to determine who comes and who does not come unilaterally… We are at the same point of discussion as we were 10 years ago, in 2012 in Cartagena, where the conclusion was reached that all countries were invited; at that time The excluded country was Cuba, today it is other countries,” emphasized the head of foreign affairs, who called for the re-establishment of the American system.
A conversation with Guaido
Missing, even Venezuelan Juan Guaido is missing, whom the White House preferred not to invite despite being recognized as Venezuela’s first democratic authority. To compensate, Biden called him on the phone while he was traveling to Los Angeles. In his call, the president emphasized US recognition and support for the democratically elected National Assembly in 2015 and for Guaidó as interim president of Venezuela. Biden expressed his support for negotiations as the best path toward the peaceful restoration of democratic institutions, free elections, and rights and freedoms in Venezuela. At the same time, he reiterated that he is ready to calibrate the sanctions policy on the basis of the results of the negotiations, as he has already done. Guaido supported the exclusion of the Maduro, Díaz-Canel, and Ortega regimes from the summit and accepted the idea of calibrating sanctions on the basis of democratic progress.
Summit documents, proposals and discussions deal with issues of democracy, health, economic cooperation, energy and climate change. These consensus documents have been watered down and made general enough not to compromise too much or hurt anyone’s feelings. For this reason, they provide few results and in many cases what they refer to are just goals, priorities or the beginning of consultations to try to reach real agreements in the future. A somewhat more ambitious document on immigration was reserved for Friday, but it was born with the burden that the heads of state of the countries most concerned about the problem (Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala) are not in Los Angeles. Washington is confident that at least Mexico will stick to the agreements.
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