© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Cuban flag flutters in the wind after being raised at the reopening of the Cuban Embassy in Washington July 20, 2015. REUTERS / Gary Cameron
By Matt Spectanick
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Biden administration on Thursday accused Cuba of controversy over its possible exclusion from the US-hosted Summit of the Americas next month, portraying Washington as a “bad guy” and distracting from the current situation. attention from Havana’s human rights record at home.
Speaking at a Latin American conference, Kerri Hannan, deputy assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, said countries had threatened to skip the regional meeting if Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua were not allowed. Please attend or you will lose your chance to participate. with the United States.
A potential boycott of the June 6-10 summit by several leaders, including Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, has increased the risk of embarrassment for President Joe Biden. , who will chair the meeting in Los Angeles.
The White House said it had yet to send out invitations and declined to provide details. However, a senior State Department official in April said the governments of Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela would likely be excluded because they showed no respect for democracy.
Adding to his weekly criticism of Cuba, President Miguel Diaz-Canel told lawmakers on Monday that “a country that cannot accommodate everyone should be excluded from hosting.”
The Cuban embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.
“Cubans love this, getting attention that they don’t attend and… keep hitting the drums,” Hannan said.
“The more they can illumine us and call us the bad guys, the more they avoid the fact that the repression they are actively inflicting on their own people,” she said, citing a protest. suppressed street protests in July last year. “They want the press about whether we didn’t invite them to the summit. … Hypocrisy plays well in the media. “
The Biden administration this week partially announced a rollback of Trump-era restrictions on remittances and travel to the Communist-ruled island. Cuba’s deputy foreign minister on Wednesday condemned the US policy towards the island as one of continued “hostile” and “economic blockade”.
Lopez Obrador said last week he would not attend the summit if Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela were not invited. His Bolivian counterpart, Luis Arce, followed suit.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is also likely to skip the meeting, sources told Reuters, without specifying his reasons. Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei on Tuesday said he would not attend, a day after the United States criticized the re-appointment of a justice minister whose country was implicated in corruption.