STORY: Mexico’s president said he is sitting out a U.S.-led gathering of leaders from the Americas this week.
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he was boycotting the Summit of the Americas because Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua were not invited.
State Department spokesman Ned Price on Monday said the U.S. understood Lopez Obrador’s decision, but made no apologies.
“One of the key elements of this Summit is democratic governance and these three countries are not exemplars, to put it mildly, of democratic governance.”
The decision also comes ahead of U.S. elections in November.
With control of the U.S. Congress hanging in the balance, President Joe Biden’s administration is under pressure from a key voting bloc: Cuban immigrants who favor harsh measures for Latin America’s leftist regimes.
But without Lopez Obrador in attendance, U.S. officials now face low expectations for what the summit can actually achieve.
That is especially the case with one of Biden’s top priorities: curbing migration at the southern border.
That issue is getting even more attention after a large caravan of migrants left southern Mexico on Monday, headed towards the U.S. border.
Their journey is timed to coincide with the summit, kicking off in Los Angeles on Wednesday.
Officials in Washington said that the summit will be successful no matter which leaders choose to attend.