President of Mexico Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador
Who Is Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador? Photo by Kellys Portillo/APHOTOGRAFIA/Getty Images

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador will be skipping the Summit of the Americas this week. In his daily news conference, Lopez Obrador said he will not show up over certain concerns regarding the summit’s guest list, sending a major blow to the event hosted by U.S. President Joe Biden in Los Angeles.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the Mexican leader said that for weeks prior to the Summit, he had insisted that all countries be invited else he would boycott the meeting. “There cannot be a summit if all countries are not invited,” Obrador said.

A senior official of the Biden administration confirmed that Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua were among the countries that were not invited citing Washington’s intent not to include autocratic or undemocratic governments. Some leaders have also indicated they will skip the Summit if all countries are not included in the invites. In an agreement of the Inter-American Democratic Charter signed in 2001, all countries in the region agreed that only democratically elected leaders can attend the Summit. Cuba was not among the signees.

Political analysts foretell the event could be a flop and become an embarrassing Summit for the Biden administration. To ensure a good turnout, Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have been working the phone lines over the past weeks speaking with the leaders of Honduras and Argentina both of whom have previously expressed support for Mexico’s proposed boycott. In a further attempt to persuade Brazil’s attendance, former Senator Christopher Dodd traveled to the region to convince and confirm the attendance of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. The far-right Brazilian leader has not spoken to Biden since the U.S. president took office in January 2021.

With immigration being one of the main topics during the Summit, Mexico’s attendance and cooperation would be a crucial element for the progress of the event. However, Obrador said he would instead visit communities hit by Hurricane Agatha and address the devastation it unleashed last week. Mexico’s foreign affairs secretary Marcelo Ebrard will be leading the Mexican delegation in place of Obredo and is looking forward to a visit to the White House to discuss the integration of the Americas should Biden’s schedule permit it.

The Summit of the Americas is held every three years. In 2019, the United States offered to host the event while the Trump administration was enjoying a revitalized relationship with Latin America. This year will be the first US-hosted summit since its inaugural summit in 1994 held in Miami.

President of Mexico Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador
Representation image. Photo by Josue Decavele/Getty Images

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