It's the United States' Party. But Mexico Wants a Say on the Guest List

By Patrick Oppmann and Hande Atay Alam

The Summit of the Americas "is expressly reserved for democratically leaders," said AS/COA's Eric Farnsworth to CNN.

A growing number of countries are threatening to snub the U.S-hosted Summit of the Americas next month, amid controversy over its guest list.

The summit, organized this year by U.S. President Joe Biden's administration, was intended to convene leaders from across the Americas in Los Angeles to discuss common policy issues. As host country, the United States has the right to draw up its guest list.

In April, US Assistant Secretary of State Brian Nichols told reporters that authoritarian Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela were unlikely to be invited. The high-level conference would instead focus on the Western Hemisphere's democracies, Nichols said. […]

The US has good reason to exclude some governments, says former U.S. diplomat Eric Farnsworth, who worked on the inaugural summit of the Americas in Miami in 1994. "This particular forum is expressly reserved for democratically leaders and that's what the Biden administration is grappling with," he told CNN.

The U.S. regards the elections of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro—who is under U.S. indictment for drug trafficking—and Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega as illegitimate.

Still, the absence of Mexico's Lopez Obrador would be a blow given the U.S. and Mexico's shared border and interests. "The president of Mexico is a critical actor obviously in terms of U.S. relations but also in terms of issues the U.S. wants to discuss at the summit in Los Angeles, mainly migration," Farnsworth said. […]

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