In blow to U.S. diplomacy, Mexican president skips key regional summit

The Summit of the Americas will take place this week in Los Angeles, and though the gathering typically represents an opportunity for leaders to move their agendas forward, the absence of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and possibly others will be a dominant factor.

Gustavo Flores-Macias, professor of government in Cornell's College of Arts and Sciences and the former director of public affairs in Mexico’s Consumer Protection Agency, is an expert in Latin American politics.

Flores-Macias says: “Mexico's president Andrés Manuel López Obrador will send the country's foreign minister as his representative since the United States did not invite Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela. Other leaders, such as those from Bolivia, Honduras, and several Caribbean countries, have echoed the Mexican president's concerns, and it is unclear whether they will personally attend. Among the main grievances are the continuation of the U.S. foreign policy toward the region through a Cold War framework, the perceived hypocrisy of U.S. engagement with authoritarian regimes outside of Latin America, and the neglect toward the region's economic challenges.

“President Biden seeks to mend U.S.-Latin America relations after the deterioration that took place during the Trump administration. The summit is an opportunity for the White House to change the perception that the ‘cold shoulder’ policies toward the region adopted by President Trump have continued under President Biden.

“The U.S.'s main objectives for the summit are to counter the growing Chinese influence in the region in addition to further U.S. interests regarding migration, anti-narcotics, the environment, and democracy promotion. While Brazil's participation is especially important because of its regional influence, economic importance, and the role it can play in sustainability efforts, Mexico's absence would be a blow to American diplomacy.”

For interviews contact Rachel Rhodes, cell: (585) 732-1877, rer252@cornell.edu.

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