Ebrard turns to Obama to defend Cuba’s presence at the Summit of the Americas

Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard at a press conference in Washington on May 3, 2022.
Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard at a press conference in Washington on May 3, 2022.POOL (REUTERS)

Mexico continues to defend the presence of Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela at the Summit of the Americas, convened by Joe Biden in Los Angeles in less than a month. The US seems determined not to extend the invitations to the three Latin American countries, which has caused a diplomatic chain reaction that has reached Mexico. Andrés Manuel López Obrador stated this week that if so, he will not appear at the meeting either. This Thursday, the foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, has added more ammunition to the debate by comparing the Mexican president with Barack Obama, who in 2015 held a historic meeting with the then Cuban president, Raúl Castro, precisely within the framework of the Summit of the Americas. .

“President López Obrador proposes to return to the path begun by Obama and interrupted since then. Blockades and embargoes only bring suffering to the peoples, not democracy”, Ebrard has published on his social networks. The meeting between Obama and Castro in Panama was the first high-level meeting between the two countries for more than half a century and marked Cuba’s first participation in the Summit of the Americas since it began to be held in 1994. The opening turn of Obama, who was cut short during the Donald Trump period, is now claimed by the Mexican government as a bargaining chip: “I read many criticisms of President López Obrador’s position from those who applauded the invitation to Raúl Castro in 2015”, Ebrard added.

The differences in position between Mexico and the US occur at a time when both countries had accelerated diplomatic rapprochement, with the focus on immigration policy. At the end of April, US President Joe Biden and López Obrador had a telephone conversation with both issues at the top of the agenda. A meeting that had its extension with the visit of the Mexican foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, to the White House. The intensification of the negotiations had staged a good harmony between the two countries after the episodes of tension experienced at the beginning of the year due to the reform of the electricity sector promoted by the López Obrador government.

“It cannot be excluded and at the same time seek a new era in US relations with Latin America. If exclusion continues, it is more of the same, the past versus the future that has come upon us and calls for the union of the Americas. You have to choose. Mexico proposes to move forward ”, added the Mexican foreign minister on his social networks. The position of the White House regarding the presence of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua at the summit remains unchanged for the time being. “We don’t think it’s convenient to include countries that don’t respect democracy,” the US Undersecretary of State for the Western Hemisphere, Brian Nichols, said this week in an interview with this newspaper.

Little given to getting deeply involved in international political matters, the Mexican president seems willing to step on the accelerator during the second part of the six-year term with the recent trips focused on the neighbors to the south -Central America and Cuba-, dusting off a Latin Americanist agenda that had a first precedent during the temporary presidency of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) two years ago. His recent trip to Havana once again made it clear that López Obrador has made a flag of his policy of active support for Cuba against the United States.

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