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Friday, October 07, 2022

Biden Targets Invite Reset Tension at Latin America Summit

When the United States said last year that it would host the 2022 summit of the Americas, officials had high hopes that the event would help repair Trump-era damage to ties and China’s growing clout in Latin America. will re-establish American primacy.

But at the end of the week’s gathering in Los Angeles, US President Joe Biden faces a struggle to succeed a summit before it even begins.

Officials and analysts say ideological discord over who to invite, doubts about US commitment to Latin America and low hopes for major agreements on issues such as migration and economic cooperation have already tainted the event. .

“Americans had basically misread the position as to be a nuisance about who was attending,” said Andres Rozental, the former Mexican deputy foreign minister, arguing for the summit to become “weak”. There was risk.

A US official admitted on condition of anonymity that preparations were “more messed up than we imagined.”

The lower level programs start from Monday, then the leaders start arriving. On Wednesday, Biden is scheduled to formally open the first US-hosted summit since the inaugural meeting in 1994.

Despite concerns such as inflation, mass shootings and the Ukraine conflict, Biden aims to reconnect with southern neighbors to form a common vision after years of relative neglect under his “America First” predecessor, Donald Trump. , who had skipped the last summit. In Lima in 2018.

Those hopes have been dashed by wrangling over who will be involved. As hosts, the United States can choose who it invites, but early plans indicated that US adversaries Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua would be excluded on the grounds that they were undemocratic.

This upset some leaders, including Mexico’s leftist President Andres Manuel López Obrador, who said he would not go until all of America’s countries were invited.

Washington has refused to participate in Venezuela and Nicaragua. It is not clear whether communist-ruled Cuba can be represented.

Most regional leaders have indicated they will participate anyway, but pushback shows that many Latin American countries are no longer unquestionably prepared to follow Washington’s lead as they were at times in the past.

US officials say there will be uproar over the guest list, and that the summit will progress, no matter who is involved.

Migration, China

Biden is expected to seek commitments to halt those flows, especially from Mexico and Central America, under pressure from Biden over a record number of migrants at the US southern border.

FILE - Migrants expelled from the US and deported to Mexico under Title 42 at the Paso del Norte International Border Bridge on April 1, 2022.

FILE – Migrants expelled from the US and deported to Mexico under Title 42 at the Paso del Norte International Border Bridge on April 1, 2022.

Biden’s aides say they are working on an “ambitious” migration statement. But the chances of a major breakthrough are slim.

Some Central American leaders have pursued US demands to tackle government corruption seen as a driver of migration from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.

A senior Biden administration official sought to downplay the centrality of migration at the summit, saying US relations with Latin America were too broad, citing economics, climate policy and the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Biden officials also want to make a case for Washington to remain as Latin America’s main economic partner to counter incursions by China.

Expert witnesses at a recent US Senate subcommittee hearing on the summit rebuked the administration for not doing more to improve relations with the rest of America.

Rebecca Bill Chavez, head of the Inter-American Dialogue, said: “The region is polarised, COVID-19 poses public health and economic challenges, democracy is taking a back seat.” “And global rivals are making their financial and political presence strongly felt.”

FILE - A truck from the Mexican company Olympic crosses the Puente International Comercio Mundial (World Trade International Bridge) while crossing the border into the US in Laredo.

FILE – A truck from the Mexican company Olympic crosses the Puente International Comercio Mundial (World Trade International Bridge) while crossing the border into the US in Laredo.

Eric Farnsworth, vice president of the US think tank Council, wants to see a regional trade initiative similar to the Indo-Pacific Biden announced during his Asia tour in May.

It will likely face US protectionist pushback.

The Biden administration is targeting regional initiatives to strengthen the near edge of supply chains, including medical devices, and to expand the Internet and clean energy.

Running parallel is a US campaign to deepen regional supplies of oil and gas to fund the Kremlin’s war on Ukraine and to dry up cash flows used to divert the West from Russian energy.

Washington has so far had little success in persuading Latin American producers to pump more crude.

FILE - Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro delivers a speech during a demonstration in support of him on Brazil's Independence Day on September 7, 2021 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

FILE – Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro delivers a speech during a demonstration in support of him on Brazil’s Independence Day on September 7, 2021 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

If Biden stifles the cause of democratic liberties, friction may subside. US officials have raised concerns about democratic backsliding in countries including Brazil, whose President Jair Bolsonaro is due to meet Biden for the first time.

Marcos Caramuru, Brazil’s former ambassador to China and Malaysia, said he did not expect the summit to lead to a major improvement in diplomatic relations, arguing that Latin America simply does not matter as much to Washington as Asia.

“Asia is much more important, as it is closely intertwined with US security and China’s control,” Caramuru said.

This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

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