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Can A Summit Of The Americas Be Held In LA Without All Countries? A Coalition Says Excluding Key Leaders Is Wrong

A group of protesters hold signs and the Cuban and Mexican flags. The signs read, "There is only American. Nuestra America." Another, "Demilitarize our America." The last, "Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua Presente!"
Activists in Los Angeles denounce U.S. President Joe Biden for excluding Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua from the Summit of the Americas, on June 2, 2022.
(Frederic J. Brown
/
AFP via Getty Images)
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International leaders will be heading to Los Angeles for next week’s Summit of the Americas. The summit will be the first time the United States hosts the transcontinental meeting since 1994.

The event is intended to bring together heads of state in the Western Hemisphere to talk policy and “commit to concerted actions” about issues facing the Americas. But there’s growing frustration because not all countries in the area are participating.

While the Biden administration says the guest list hasn’t been finalized, it’s likely to exclude Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela, according to Reuters. That may keep the leaders of other countries, including the president of Mexico, from coming.

A coalition of local activists is protesting in part by holding its own summit with speakers from the barred nations. On Saturday, the group plans to hold a “People’s Panel” at 10 a.m. at the District 9 Council Office.

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Ron Gochez from Unión del Barrio said the program includes representatives of the Sandinistas, a socialist political party in Nicaragua, along with labor leaders from Cuba and Venezuela.

“We're also going to have local organizations present and speak about the issues and how we, here in Los Angeles and inside of this country, are affected by U.S. foreign policy that’s imposed all over Latin America,” Gochez said.

The coalition also plans to protest President Joe Biden’s arrival in L.A. next week.

Gochez said excluding the countries goes against the interests of democracy, adding that “no one should have the right to exclude others.”

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“We want to let them know that our discontent with their decision to exclude countries … it’s no longer a Summit of the Americas,” Gochez said. “It’s a summit of [the] U.S. and their allies. And that's not representative of the entire hemisphere.”

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