Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua condemn exclusion from U.S. summit

·2 min read

By Nelson Acosta

HAVANA, May 27 (Reuters) - A bloc of leftist countries meeting in Havana on Friday condemned the exclusion of certain nations from next month's Summit of the Americas, after the United States said that it only wanted the leaders of governments that respect democracy to attend.

The United States will host the Summit of the Americas from June 6 to 10 in Los Angeles, and has said that it will not invite Venezuela or Nicaragua, while the summit coordinator said it would be up to the White House to decide whether to invite Cuba.

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel said this week that he would not attend under "any circumstances" even if invited.

The 10 countries known as the ALBA bloc - including Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua - issued a statement from Havana saying they "reject the exclusions and discriminatory treatment at the so-called Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles."

In addition, they described the exclusion as "arbitrary, ideological and politically motivated" and said "this unilateral decision constitute a serious historical setback in hemispheric relations."

Shortly beforehand, in a broadcast speech, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro described the upcoming summit as "erratic" and applauded a group of nations headed by Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who had "stood up to raise the voice of the truth of an entire continent."

The White House and U.S. State Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Mexican president, along with the leaders of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Guatemala and Honduras, have threatened to boycott the summit if certain countries are excluded.

This week, Reuters confirmed that 13 of the 14 countries of the Caribbean community, which does not include Cuba, were planning to attend the Los Angeles meeting.

The prime minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves, said in Havana that he had received an invitation to the summit, but would not be attending. (Reporting by Nelson Acosta; additional reporting by Matt Spetalnick in Washington; writing by Isabel Woodford Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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