LA PAZ (Reuters) -Bolivian President Luis Arce has announced that he will not participate in next month’s Summit of the Americas in the United States if Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela are excluded from the gathering.
Arce’s position mirrors that of Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who said on Tuesday that he would not attend the June 6-10 summit in Los Angeles, California, if the three leftist-run countries are not invited.
In April, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Brian Nichols said that Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government were unlikely to be invited to the summit. He said the meeting would focus on democratic governments in the Western Hemisphere.
“A Summit of the Americas that excludes American countries will not be a full Summit of the Americas, and if the exclusion of sister nations persists, I will not participate in it,” Arce, a socialist, posted on his Twitter account late on Tuesday.
Asked about Arce adding his voice to Lopez Obrador’s concerns about the summit invitation list, a White House official said on condition of anonymity that Washington was in close contact with many countries across the region.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters on Tuesday a final decision on who would be invited had not yet been made.
Bolivia and the United States have been diplomatically estranged for more than a decade. The Andean nation has accused Washington of interfering in its internal affairs.
In addition, far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro will not travel to the summit, according to Brazilian sources with knowledge of the matter, although his reason for skipping the event is not clear.
(Reporting by Danny Ramos; Additional reporting by Matt Spetalnick in Washington; Writing by Alexander Villegas; Editing by Paul Simao and Grant McCool)