The administration of President Joe Biden chose Los Angeles as the venue for the summit of dignitaries from Latin America and the Caribbean that is a fundamental part of its projection in a region increasingly courted by US adversaries such as Russia and China.
The Summit of the Americas, scheduled for the week of June 6, will focus on defending democracy and human rights in the Western Hemisphere, as well as addressing illegal migration, climate change, and efforts to ensure sustainable growth. equitable as the region emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, a senior legislative aide briefed by the State Department told The Associated Press.
It will be the first time the United States has hosted the regional summit since 1994, when President Bill Clinton hosted dignitaries from the region in Miami seeking a free trade agreement stretching from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego.
The lofty goal was shelved long ago, following the rise of more leftist and anti-American governments in various parts of the region, leading many experts to question the need for a costly meeting of more than 30 heads of state in which each promotes its own bilateral agenda with Washington, but without much cooperation between them.
In recent years, the region has diversified its trade and diplomatic ties, but the United States has remained without much interaction, while Russia, China, Iran and other foreign powers rivaling the United States increase their influence in a region that for decades was known as like Washington’s backyard.
President Donald Trump didn’t even bother to show up to the last meeting, held in Peru in 2018.
It is unknown which cities Los Angeles defeated during the selection process. But it is said that cities like Miami, Houston and New Orleans were also considered.
In the end, Los Angeles — a Democratic stronghold in which Vice President Kamala Harris is deeply rooted — was seen as a safe choice and one that reflects the administration’s focus on addressing the causes of migration from Mexico and Central America. Many of the migrants fleeing economic adversity and organized crime violence in the region have settled in Los Angeles.
The White House said in a statement announcing its decision that “the vital interests of the United States are intimately tied to the fate of our closest neighbors in the Americas.”
“The ability of our democracies to reduce the gap between our promises and the facts depends largely on what we do, together, to improve,” he added.
It is unknown if the leaders of the 35 nations of the hemisphere will be invited to the summit. Cuba has been excluded on previous occasions, but at the 2015 Panama summit, then-President Barack Obama shook hands with former President Raúl Castro as part of his efforts to reestablish diplomatic relations with the island.
Another delicate point is Venezuela. The Biden administration has continued Trump’s policy of recognizing opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the legitimate ruler of the island, which means it is unlikely that President Nicolás Maduro, who has consolidated his mandate with the support of the government, will be invited. Venezuelan army.
The US government has taken a similar stance with Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega due to the repression of opponents, and has serious doubts about Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele’s commitment to democracy.