López Obrador May Not Attend the Summit of the AmericasBy Paloma Duran | Thu, 05/12/2022 - 11:49
President López Obrador said that he will not attend the Summit of the Americas, unless representatives of all the countries on the continent are invited. Although it is still uncertain whether López Obrador will attend, experts warn that his statement will increase diplomatic tension between the US and Mexico.
Yesterday, López Obrador stressed that all countries should be invited to the summit regardless of their differences, because key regional issues will be discussed and no country should have the power to reject others. “If some countries are excluded or not invited, I will not go to the Summit… I want to defend the independence and sovereignty of all countries and advocate for universal brotherhood. If countries are excluded, then it is not the Summit of the Americas,” said the president, adding that he will send Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard in his place if any countries are left out.
Although López Obrador intended to promote brotherhood in the region, experts warned that the declaration will only irritate Mexico’s relationship with the US, Mexico's main trading partner. Erika Ruiz, an Associate of the Mexican Council of International Affairs (COMEXI), said that the president's statement and his possible absence would complicate Mexico’s opportunity to become a closer partner of the US, which is key as there are several complex issues that both countries must tackle together.
"The US has to know which countries it can count on because we are facing the harsh return of geopolitics. Consequently, if López Obrador does not attend the summit, there would be doubts that Mexico may cease to be an important ally,” Ruíz said. She explained that Mexico's support has already been questioned by the US because the country refused to implement sanctions against Russia after its invasion to Ukraine. So far, experts agree that the US will not impose sanctions against Mexico because the USMCA has mechanisms to prevent it from doing so. However, a growing tension between the two countries cannot be ruled out.
Last week, US Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Brian Nichols, announced that the US would not invite Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela to the Summit of the Americas, which will take place in June 2022. Nichols explained that these countries do not respect the Democratic Charter of the Americas, so they are not expected to add value to the meeting.
In the case of Cuba, relations between the two countries became further polarized when the US accused Cuba of suppressing the 2021 protests, whereas Cuba accused the US of instigating them. Meanwhile, the US government does not recognize Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and accuses them of committing electoral fraud. For its part, Cuba criticized the exclusion of the US and described the US president's policy as a “historic setback.”