Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador threatened to boycott next month’s Summit of Americas, saying Tuesday that his participation will not be confirmed unless host country United States invites Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela.
“Participation in the Los Angeles Summit has not yet been resolved because we are proposing that no one is excluded because we seek the unity of all America,” López Obrador said during his daily briefing in Mexico City.
“We feel that there should be no confrontation. Even with the differences, we must dialogue, all Americans, then we are yet to resolve this issue; we have a very good relationship with the government of President Biden. We want everyone to be invited. That’s the position of Mexico,” he added.
US officials have repeatedly said the governments of Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela will not be invited to the summit due to their human rights records.
As host country, the US has the privilege of selecting leaders to be invited to the summit.
However, the White House said on Tuesday that no decisions have been made following López Obrador’s comments.
“We haven’t made a decision about who will be invited, and no invitations have been issued yet,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.
If López Obrador forgoes Mexico’s spot at the gathering – which is set to take place in June – it would constitute a considerable snub toward the White House and US President Joe Biden’s administration in particular, who have tried to use the summit as an opportunity to strengthen Latin America’s ties with the US, amid increasing Chinese interaction in the region.
The Mexican President spoke back at home after a tour of Central America and Cuba, where he met Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel and former president Raul Castro. In Cuba, López Obrador said he would insist to Biden that no country in the Americas be excluded at the summit.
“I’m aware that there are political groups in the US that are committed to confrontation, that would like to hold the people of Latin America and the Caribbean hostage, as is the case of the blockade against Cuba, which is highly promoted by Cuban politicians who have a lot of influence in the US,” López Obrador said.
“But I consider the blockade inappropriate, and inhumane (…) an entire people cannot suffer for the interest of a group, so the US government must decide on this because it is a matter of human rights, which has to do with sovereignty,” he added.
He added: “If excluded, if not everyone is invited, a representation of the Mexican government will go, but I would not go. Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard would represent me.”
The Summit of the Americas is traditionally a gathering of countries from North, Central and South America and the Caribbean, and is held every four years.
Relations between the US and Cuba have been tense for decades, even though both countries held their first high-level talks in four years in April.
Nicaragua and Venezuela are on bad terms with Washington following an extensive list of sanctions against their governments and recent dubious elections.