Summit guest-list kerfuffle con't
(June 2, 2022)
With less than a week to go, there still isn’t a final guest list for the upcoming Summit of the Americas, to be hosted by the U.S. in Los Angeles starting on June 6. Yesterday U.S. national security advisor Juan González tried to minimize the issue, saying that they “haven’t been so focused on who is and isn’t invited” but rather on the outcomes of the reunion. He then recognized that the White House is still weighing —four days before the summit— whether to include Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. (Reuters, El Faro)
The guest-list kerfuffle risks undermining the gathering, even as U.S. President Joe Biden seeks progress on politically sensitive issues like migration to the U.S. southern border and economic growth, reports CNN. Next week's Summit of the Americas will mark the ninth meeting of countries in the region and the first time the U.S. has hosted the gathering since it was inaugurated in Miami in 1994.
Argentine President Alberto Fernández confirmed his assistance at next week’s Summit of the Americas, and had a phone call with U.S. President Joe Biden. They agreed to a bilateral meeting in July. (Ámbito)
Fernández’s attendance is part of a strategy coordinated with Mexico, which urged Fernández to attend as president pro tempore of the CELAC, which Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba form a part of. Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador refuses to attend because of U.S. exclusion of those three countries. (El País)
Some reports indicate that Chilean President Gabriel Boric will link his attendance at the Summit to Fernández’s. (BAE Noticias)
Biden’s special advisor for the summit, Christopher Dodd, travelled last week to Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, aimed at ensuring their leaders’ attendance. (El País)
In Central America’s Northern Triangle the Biden administration is also short on Summit support, reports El Faro English. Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei said he will not attend amid an open feud with the U.S. over the reelection of corrupt attorney general Consuelo Porras. Honduran President Xiomara Castro joined the chorus of dissent against the exclusion of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. El Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele has remained silent.
Castro’s absence would “most underscore a diplomatic failure in the isthmus,” according to El Faro, as she has shown her interest in a closer relationship with the United States since assuming office in January.
Dan Restrepo argues that this should be the last Summit of the Americas: “Originally envisioned as a vehicle to advance U.S. interests in the Americas, the Summit of the Americas is a fatally flawed forum that doesn’t serve its purpose and limits our country’s focused attention on its closest neighbors to a once-every-three-years event,” he writes in the Los Angeles Times.
Amnesty International has accused El Salvador’s government of committing “massive human rights violations” during an extraordinary security crackdown that has seen more than 36,000 people arrested in just over two months. Two percent of the country’s adult population is now behind bars, reports the Guardian.
Cristosal, a nongovernmental organization, has documented more than 500 cases of arbitrary arrests since the state of exception was imposed March 27, according to its director Noah Bullock. The most common crime attributed to those arrested is illegal association for allegedly belonging to a gang. Judges have been practically automatic in ordering arrestees held for six months at the request of prosecutors despite little or no supporting evidence, according to a Cristosal report. (Associated Press)
Peru’s 70 million hectares of Amazon forest are being razed at an alarming rate. An investigation by InSight Crime and the Igarapé Institute reveals the range of culprits behind the devastation: from illegal gold miners who leave behind pools of poisonous mercury, to poor locals coopted into harvesting valuable trees, to a complex web of front companies, agribusiness subsidiaries, corrupt officials and criminal groups that prosper from the Amazon’s destruction.
Chilean President Gabriel Boric struck a conciliatory tone and outlined his government's plans to tackle a slew of issues amid a sharp drop in his approval rating during his first State of the Union Address, yesterday. (Reuters)
Colombian presidential candidate Gustavo Petro has sought to portray his opponent, Rodolfo Hernández, as an old-fashioned machista, in an effort to lure female voters ahead of this month’s runoff election, reports La Silla Vacía.
Though he is within arm’s reach of the presidency, Hernández, a political outsider, lacks a fixed circle of advisors, and instead relies on instinct for final decisions, according to La Silla Vacía.
“Colombia is taking a step into the unknown. Either candidate could destabilise a country that was on track for at least modest success,” according to the Economist. (See Monday’s post and Tuesday’s.)
A four-year-old girl was killed in crossfire between police and militias in Rio de Janeiro yesterday. (UOL)
In the midst of Argentina’s prolonged economic crisis, millions of residents survive largely thanks to soup kitchens and state welfare programs. Almost a third of Argentine households are estimated to receive some kind of social assistance, reports the Associated Press.
Archaeologists have discovered the ruins of a vast network of settlements hidden beneath the undergrowth of the Bolivian Amazon. The evidence is another example of the complex societies that thrived in a region once held to be pristine wilderness, reports the Guardian.