The United States will not invite representatives of Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro or Nicaragua to next month’s Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, an official confirmed Thursday.
“Absolutely not. We don’t recognize them as a sovereign government,” Kevin O’Reilly, the summit’s coordinator, told a Senate committee when asked about the Maduro regime’s involvement. The United States considers Maduro illegitimate and recognizes opposition leader Juan Guaidó as interim president.
Regarding the participation in the summit of the Nicaraguan president, Daniel Ortega, accused of increasing authoritarianism, O’Reilly also gave a definitive “no.”
He gave a less clear answer when asked if representatives of the Cuban regime would attend, saying that the White House was in charge of the invitations but that none had been sent “to my knowledge.”
President Joe Biden wants the Summit of the Americas to showcase democracy in Latin America and increase cooperation on migration, a key political priority for the United States.
But several nations led by Mexico have threatened to boycott or downgrade participation if the United States does not invite every country in the hemisphere.
O’Reilly said the administration was “constantly in dialogue” with Mexico. “Certainly we are having conversations with the government of Mexico and all the governments in the region about structuring and organization,” he said.
The Biden administration also said it plans to invite civil society groups from across Latin America.
For his part, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro confirmed his attendance at the summit, to be held in June in Los Angeles, where he is scheduled to have a bilateral meeting with his American counterpart, Joe Biden.
The president of the South American giant, who will seek reelection in October, had left his participation up in the air, but has finally chosen to attend the continental meeting in the Californian city, which will take place between June 6 and 10.