Biden Bans Left-Wing Latin Leaders From Regional Summit in L.A.

By: James Tweedie

This article was originally published by Sputnik News on May 4th, 20222

No love is lost between Latin America’s left-wing governments and the US, which has waged economic warfare on them while supporting violent regime-change efforts by opposition forces. But Washington recently attempted to woo Venezuela back into the fold with the aim of regaining access to its huge oil reserves amid sanctions on Russia.

US President Joe Biden has barred Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela from a regional summit to be held in Los Angeles next month.

Biden is set to speak at the Ninth Summit of the Americas, held under the auspices of the Washington-based Organisation of American States (OAS). But his Mexican counterpart has questioned how the event can live up to its name with three Latin American nations excluded.

Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Brian A. Nichols told Colombia’s NTN24 news on Monday that socialist Cuba and its two left-wing regional allies would not be invited to the conference scheduled for June 6 to 10.

This is a key moment in our hemisphere, a moment when we are confronting many challenges to democracy,” Nichols said in Spanish.
— Quote Source

“The countries, to mention Cuba, Nicaragua, the regime of [Venezuelan President Nicolas] Maduro do not respect the Democratic Charter of the Americas, and therefore I do not expect their presence.”

Presenter Gustau Alegret pointed out that Cuba had attended the 2015 summit in Panama, and asked directly if Havana would be invited to the LA gathering.

No,” Nichols replied. “It’s a decision for the president, but I think the president has been very clear that the presidencies of the countries that by their actions do not respect democracy will not receive invitations.”
— Quote Source

The OAS adopted the Inter-American Democratic Charter document in 2001, which it invoked in 2014 and 2016 to condemn Venezuela’s United Socialist Party (PSUV) government during two bouts of deadly rioting organised by opposition forces.

The US has repeatedly refused to recognise the results of elections in Cuba, Nicaragua or Venezuela, even when certified by delegations of international observers.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador questioned the validity of an inter-American summit that excludes countries for reasons of political doctrine. Cuba recently condemned the US-led NATO alliance’s bid to expand into the Ukraine, threatening Russia’s national security.

“In the Americas, we cannot maintain the policies of two centuries ago. How is it we call for a Summit of the Americas but we don’t invite everyone?” AMLO asked.
— Quote Source

The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the Grupo de Puebla of left-wing former Latin American leaders both condemned Biden’s decision.

“The grave consequences of the pandemic in the region demonstrate that dialogue and cooperation are key tools for the wellbeing of our people,” CELAC tweeted. “It is essential that we overcome ideological divisions and focus on the search for points of agreement.”

In its statement, the Grupo de Puebla said: “It makes no sense to leave out these countries which have suffered, like all have, the social costs of the predatory impact of the COVID-19 virus.”

‘Yankee Ministry of Colonies’

Nicaragua announced last month that it was withdrawing from the OAS, calling it a “diabolical instrument” of US “intervention and domination”. Nicaragua’s membership was suspended last November following years of US moves to isolate the Central American nations since the left-wing Sandinista movement returned to power in the 2010 election.

Cuba was expelled from the international body in January 1962, three years after the revolution led by Fidel Castro, explicitly for following a path of “Marxism–Leninism”. The US government of John F Kennedy pressured central American governments to back the vote. Later that year Washington imposed an economic blockade on Cuba that has never been lifted.

In a speech in Havana shortly afterwards, Castro described the OAS as the “Yankee Ministry of Colonies and a military bloc against the peoples of Latin America.” Cuba declined to re-join the organisation after the ban was lifted in 2009.

But Washington has recently attempted to build bridges with Venezuela. A State Department delegation travelled to Havana in early March to discuss lifting blanket sanctions on the country in return for resuming oil exports to the US.

The Biden government is desperate to find alternatives to Russian heavy oil imports amid its economic war on Moscow over the special military operation in Ukraine.