The Biden administration, since that decision to exclude Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua, has been forced to contend with mounting pressure from leaders such as Mexico’s Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Bolivia’s Lucho Arce. Both have said they would skip the Summit if the US insists on excluding any country.
The White House does not seem to understand that the heyday of US dominance has now passed. No longer will pliant leaders simply do what the man in Washington says. Latin America and the Caribbean are demanding that their sovereignty be respected.
The failure of this 2022 Summit of the Americas could be the final nail in the coffin of an outdated model. Elected leaders throughout the hemisphere have already begun expressing a commitment to regional integration. México last year hosted the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, an 11-year-old multilateral body that includes every state in the hemisphere with the notable exception of Canada and the US. AMLO welcomed Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela at this CELAC session and proposed that the Organization of American States needed to be replaced with a new body independent of the US.
No matter what happens this week in Los Angeles, no matter who gets invited and who ultimately attends, Biden has succeeded in deepening the mistrust many of the region’s leaders feel toward the US. As AMLO has repeatedly stressed, a Summit of the Americas that does not include all of the countries of the Americas amounts to no summit at all.