Photo: Mexican President López Obrador announces he will not attend the Summit of the Americas. Source: Isaac Esquivel/EFE.
The Ninth Summit of the Americas began on Monday. U.S. President Biden announced Monday that the administration would exclude the governments of Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua from the event due to concerns about human rights and a lack of democracy in the three countries. The decision sparked discontent from some regional leaders, including Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Chilean President Gabriel Boric. While the latter called the decision a mistake, the former boycotted the event and delegated participation to Minister of Foreign Affairs Marcelo Ebrard. President López Obrador announced he would travel to the United States next month to meet with President Biden. These events occurred a day after López Obrador’s party, Morena, won four out of the six state governorships in local elections.
The Summit also coincided with a migrant caravan of several thousand migrants beginning their trek in Southern Mexico on Monday with the ultimate goal of reaching the United States. These migrant advocates aim to foster awareness of migrants’ plights while leaders gather in Los Angeles. Advocates contend that the U.S.-Mexico strategy of containing migrants in Southern Mexico has made many migrants miserable. Experts expect that up to 15,000 migrants will join the caravan. As part of her role in addressing the root causes of migration, Vice President Kamala Harris announced on Tuesday that the U.S. would pledge more than USD $1.9 billion in private sector commitments to create economic opportunity in El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. Harris promised $1.2 billion in December 2021 as part of her Call to Action initiative, bringing the cumulative total to more than $3.1 billion in commitments to the Northern Triangle. Additionally, Biden and other Western Hemisphere leaders are set to announce the “Los Angeles Declaration,” which they are billing as a roadmap for countries to host large numbers of migrants and refugees.