LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — Bolivia's President Luis Arce says he may not go to the Summit of the Americas if some countries from the region are not invited, joining Mexico's leader in objecting to suggestions that Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua might be excluded from the June meeting in Los Angeles.
Arce made the statement in a tweet late Tuesday following a similar warning earlier in the day from Mexico's Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Two Caribbean leaders have also protested against calls to exclude the three leftist governments that are under U.S. sanctions.
"A Summit of the Americas that excludes American countries will not be a full Summit of the Americas and, if the exclusion of sister countries persists, I will not participate,” Arce wrote.
López Obrador had warned that “if there's exclusion, if not everyone is invited, there will be representatives from the Mexican government but I would not attend."
Arce's statement followed a meeting last week between the Bolivian and Venezuelan foreign ministers.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Brian Nichols recently said the U.S. was unlikely to invite the governments of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua because they do not respect democracy. The U.S. has imposed sanctions on all three countries and does not even recognize Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro as the country’s legal leader.
However, the White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, said Tuesday that “a final decision has not been made yet” on who will be invited.
Cuba was excluded from the first six hemispheric summits, but then-President Raul Castro attended the 2015 meeting in Panama, where he met U.S. President Barack Obama at a moment of improving ties between the two countries.
On Wednesday, while in Germany, Argentine President Alberto Fernández said he planned to go to the Summit of the Americas. “But I ask of the organizers what López Obrador has asked: that they invite all the countries of Latin America,” Fernández told Germany's Deutsche Welle.