US Says It Will Exclude Venezuela and Nicaragua From Summit of the Americas

The U.S. will not invite the governments of Venezuela and Nicaragua to the U.S.-hosted Summit of the Americas next month, a State Department official said on Thursday.

“Absolutely not. We don’t recognize them as a sovereign government,” Kevin O’Reilly, the coordinator of the summit, said of the Venezuelan government. He also gave a definitive “no” on the participation of Nicaragua.

O’Reilly noted that it would be up to the White House to determine whether to invite Cuba — which it has imposed an embargo on — to the meeting in Los Angeles, although Cuban civil society activists had been asked to attend.

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel said on Twitter that “under no circumstances” will he attend the summit, accusing Washington of deliberately making it non-inclusive.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and his Nicaraguan counterpart Daniel Ortega have both been accused of increasing authoritarianism.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has threatened to boycott the summit if the U.S. does not invite all Latin American countries. Leaders of Argentina, Bolivia, Honduras and the 14-nation bloc of Caribbean states have also threatened not to attend.

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