Cuban president says he won’t attend Summit of the Americas

Alexander Zemlianichenko / Associated Press

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel said Wednesday that “under no circumstances” will he attend the Summit of the Americas set to be held in Los Angeles in June.

In a thread on Twitter, Díaz-Canel said that “it is known that the United States had conceived early on that the Summit of the Americas would not be inclusive.”

“I can assure you that, under no circumstances, will I attend,” wrote Díaz-Canel.

“As it has happened often times in the past, the voice of #Cuba will be heard at the Ninth Summit of the Americas,” he added.

The Biden administration, which is organizing the summit, has yet to announce a formal guest list, but Latin American leaders have asked for every head of government in the Western Hemisphere to be included.

Cuban officials — and many of their Latin American allies — have denounced the United States’s expected exclusion of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua from the guest list.

Earlier this month, the State Department’s top official for the Western Hemisphere, Brian Nichols, said in an interview he did not expect the United States to issue invitations to the leaders of Cuba and Nicaragua or to the de facto president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro.

U.S. allies in the region, particularly Mexico, reacted negatively to the impending exclusion of leaders who are either not signatories or have openly disdained the Inter-American Democratic Charter.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who’s celebrated reciprocal visits with Díaz-Canel, said he will miss the event and instead send Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard if Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua are excluded.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has said he will attend the summit, Reuters reported on Wednesday, ending weeks of speculation he was planning to skip it.

Bolsonaro, a right-wing populist who’s up for reelection, rarely sees eye to eye with the pro-Cuba governments in other large Latin American countries such as Mexico or Argentina.

Argentine President Alberto Fernández said earlier this month that he will attend the summit, but he echoed López Obrador’s demands that all leaders be invited.

The Summit of the Americas has been held more or less every three years since 1994, and Cuba’s presence has at times led to discomfort between the United States and other Latin American countries.

In 2015, U.S. officials tried to pressure Panama to refrain from inviting then-President Raúl Castro, and in 2002, former Mexican President Vicente Fox got tangled up in a web of diplomatic faux pas in trying to host both Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro and former U.S. President George W. Bush.

Díaz-Canel in his Twitter thread accused the United States of again pressuring Latin American and Caribbean allies to attend the summit despite the expected shortened guest list.

“It is also known that the United States has been engaged in intensive efforts and has exercised brutal pressures to demobilize the just and firm claims of the majority of the countries of the region demanding that the Summit should be inclusive,” wrote Díaz-Canel.

“We appreciate the courageous and dignified standing adopted by the countries that have raised their voices against exclusions,” he added.

“We share the position adopted by the leaders of the region who have firmly stated that all countries should be invited on an equal footing,” he wrote.

Tags Alberto Fernández Andrés Manuel López Obrador Cuba Fidel Castro Jair Bolsonaro Marcelo Ebrard Miguel Díaz-Canel Nicolas Maduro Summit of the Americas

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