Biden Is Hosting the Summit of the Americas, but Mexico's President Won't Be There

By Franco Ordoñez

The United States needs to be more proactive to improve its standing in Latin America, said AS/COA's Eric Farnsworth to NPR.

The Summit of the Americas—an event bringing together leaders of countries from Chile to Canada this week—was supposed to be a chance for the White House to demonstrate its leadership on big regional issues such as migration, climate change and recovering from the pandemic.

But the agenda has been overshadowed by who won't be at the table. Several leaders, including Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, turned down the chance to meet with President Biden in Los Angeles.

The absences are drawing attention to the waning influence of the United States in the region and raising questions about U.S. commitment to Latin America. […]

Latin America has been crying out for economic relief following the pandemic and getting little help from the United States, while China sits in wait — with an open checkbook.

The United States needs to be more proactive to improve its standing in the region, and to make it attractive for Latin American leaders to engage, said Eric Farnsworth, a former State Department official now at the Council of the Americas.

"I've been saying this since at least last summer," Farnsworth said. "You are heading for a train wreck unless you change course in some way and recognize that the hemisphere has shifted. But our policy in the region is simply status quo."…

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