Mexican president says will not attend U.S.-hosted Summit of the Americas

The Biden administration is currently scrambling to ensure that the event, widely predicted to be a flop for a number of reasons, goes off without a hitch.
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The U.S./ Mexico border
The U.S./ Mexico border
(Joey Ingelhart/Getty)

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador confirmed this week that he will not attend the Summit of the Americas, which is being hosted by the Biden administration in Los Angeles.

The news arrives as the Biden administration scrambles to ensure the event is not a flop.

López Obrador says he will snub the event – as he'd vowed to for weeks – because the U.S. did not invite the leaders of Cuba and Nicaragua, nor were representatives of the Maduro regime in Venezuela, which the U.S. does not recognize as legitimate, invited.

Cuba was invited and attended the last two summits, while former President Trump did not attend the last summit held in Peru in 2018. This will be the first time the U.S. hosts the summit since its launch in Miami in 1994. 

"I'm not going to the Summit because not all countries are invited," said the Mexican leader at his daily press conference  Monday.

Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard will attend the summit. Honduras will also send a lower-level delegation.

The decision by Honduras may be a disappointing one to the Biden administration given its recent attempts to reset the relationship between the country.

Vice President Kamala Harris was the guest of honor at the inauguration of Honduran President Xiomara Castro, who announced Saturday that Foreign Minister Eduardo Enrique Reina will travel to California in her stead. 

Harris also visited López Obrador during her first foreign trip as vice president, as she attempted to identify the root causes of the ongoing immigration crisis at the U.S. southern border.

The trip was, however, perceived to be less than successful. And López Obrador, despite a generally solid relationship with the U.S., has presented the administration with a diplomatic cold shoulder on some policy issues, including its position on Cuba. 

"I have a very good relationship with President Biden. He’s a good man," López Obrador said Monday. "In this case I feel there are many pressures from Republicans and especially from some leaders in the Republican Party and also in the Democratic Party that have something to do with the Cuban community in Florida and in the United States."

The leader was apparently making reference to Sens. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla) respectively the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the ranking member of the committee's Western Hemisphere subpanel. Both men take hardline stances against the ruling Communist Party of Cuba.

It is also the case that the governments of Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela are not active members of the D.C.-based Organization of the American States, the entity that organizes the event.