President Lopez Obrador asked President Biden to invite all countries in the region to the upcoming Summit of the Americas. AMLO has stipulated his participation if Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela are excluded from this summit, and it has been suggested that some other leaders may adopt this same position.
What can Mexico gain from siding with dictatorships and confronting such an important trading ally? At first glance, sending this message to our main economic partner is untenable, especially if the United States decides to maintain its position on the side of democratic defense.
On the other hand, siding with Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua contrasts with the defense of democracy that our president is constantly making; It is a fact that the citizens of these three countries lack free elections and real political rights. As much as there is criticism of our electoral system, in Mexico there are serious and rotating institutions that have allowed the democratization of the country. Regardless of ideologies, would any Mexican politician wish to be an opponent in one of those three countries?
In diplomatic affairs, although Mexico has maintained close relations with Cuba and has condemned the embargo on numerous occasions, the reality is different with Venezuela and Nicaragua, which we have little in common with. Cuba has become a champion of diplomacy and has reached latitudes we have never been able to; For example, the island has about 30 embassies in Africa while we only have eight. Havana cannot be ignored in a multilateral council; On the contrary, appealing to the assistance that we have always given to Cuba, we must seek its cooperation to expand our relations in Africa.
Politics is not linear, circumstances can redefine even decisions that seemed more stable. So far, President Biden is unlikely to change his decision as the summit’s agenda includes the defense of democracy and freedoms. Although the criticism that the United States has left no democratic message in the countries in which it intervenes is true (just seeing the outcome in Afghanistan makes one crawl on the skin), it is Biden who decides to call the summit.
The world is not what it was a few months ago. The pandemic has affected everything from our health to production chains, and the invasion of Ukraine has raised prices for fuel, food and fertilizer. The United States goes into legislative elections in November amid outright discontent with inflation and Republican criticism of Democratic immigration policy.
But what if the White House decided to change its narrative and move – again – to the side of pragmatism? The US agenda in the region has direct implications for November’s Electoral Council: expanding crude oil production in Venezuela could reduce fuel costs (Washington and Caracas have already started talks on the issue), and an agreement with Cuba and Nicaragua could reduce some migration pressures, perhaps the most important Something geopolitically speaking is that this may be the long overdue juncture for the United States to withdraw Russian influence from the region. Dialogues with Cuba are nothing new, and will not surprise Democratic voters, but achieving new political balances and a united America would not only be a victory for AMLO, but also a powerful message for Biden in the face of the election he is in. It should come up stronger.