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Witness of Time – The Summit of the Americas is in Danger

J. C. Malone

The ninth Summit of the Americas next June, in Los Angeles, could be a resounding failure, where the collapse of the fragile and dysfunctional inter-American system would begin. A failed summit would be a severe setback for US regional leadership.

It would be catastrophic for the leadership of President Joe Biden, internally questioned for his inability to get all Democratic legislators to support his agenda.

The presidents of the two most important nations south of the US border, for different reasons, Mexico and Brazil, may not attend.

The Mexican president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador says that if they do not invite Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, he will not attend the conclave, Honduras and Bolivia hold the same position. They assure that they will not sit at the same table with Juan Guaidó, whom the United States recognizes as the “legitimate president” of Venezuela, although no one elected him.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is almost certainly not going to attend, besides not having good relations with President Biden, he has little to look for in the Summit. Bolsonaro is very close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, they are part of the cohesive group of emerging economies known as BRICS.

Bolsonaro faces a difficult electoral battle in October and, from now on, he discredits the electoral process before it happens, as his good friend former President Donald Trump did. Bolsonaro will not come to Los Angeles to listen to lectures on democracy and alternation in power.

If the presidents of the three main Latin American economies do not attend, then the Summit of the Americas will lose its shine and even legitimacy. Brazil and Mexico are two giants, Venezuela has the main oil reserves in the world, without these three countries any agreement will lack functionality and legitimacy.

Poor leadership
The summit could be a humiliating episode for the United States and its political influence in the region, as well as serious problems for Biden’s inter-American leadership.

With about three weeks to go until the summit, the State Department admits that it has not yet invited any heads of state. This exposes the sensitivity of the situation, they do not dare not to invite Cuba, Venezuela or Nicaragua, but they do not dare to invite them either, for that reason, no one has been invited.

Biden cannot invite Cuba because he will be looking for a problem with the head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the Democratic Cuban-American senator, Robert -Bob- Menéndez. That’s not a good idea at a time when the nation is locked in the war between Ukraine and Russia. Biden’s leadership is under question because of his inability to unify Democratic senators. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Krysten Sinema of Arizona, openly obstruct Biden’s agenda, don’t look for a problem with Menendez.

Cuba was invited to two previous summits, the one in Panama and the one in Peru.

Biden cannot afford to fight with López Obrador, because if Mexico does not cooperate with US immigration policy, the situation will be much worse. Also, he cooperated with Trump, that Biden cannot count on his support speaks volumes about his poor leadership.

Mexico did not support the economic embargo against Russia, if its president, López Obrador, does not go to Los Angeles, Biden has a serious problem crossing the border.

Globalization broke down with the reaction of the United States and the European Union to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Today the world is divided into two blocks, those who support economic embargoes against Russia and those who do not.

If the Summit of the Americas fails, we would be witnessing the deterioration of inter-American cooperation mechanisms, increasing the disintegration of international cooperation mechanisms at the global level.

The first Summit of the Americas was held in Miami from December 9 to 11, 1994, Bill Clinton was US president, 34 countries attended. The ninth, in Los Angeles, could be the last.

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