Message to Vice President Harris
Message to Vice President HarrisJune 7, 2022
Dear Vice President Harris,
The Biden Administration has created a self-inflicted wound about participation in the Summit of the Americas by reversing the decision at the Cartagena Summit ten years ago.
From the closing statement of President Santos, the Colombian host of Summit VI:
"Respect and tolerance for differences indicate that we are a mature region with enormous potential to carry out ambitious projects such as those consigned in the mandates of the VI Summit which had as its motto: 'Connecting the Americas: Partners for Prosperity'
Most countries support Cuba's participation in the Summits of the Americas Process and they vowed to make this purpose a reality starting at the next Summit."
The only way out I can see out of this embarrassing situation is no doubt fantasy--for the President or you to surprise your audience by acknowledging the deeply felt differences over inclusion and, underlying that, between the US and every other country present, over our unilateral embargo of Cuba.
If one of you pledged to respect their viewpoint and use executive authority and leadership with Congress to ameliorate and terminate the embargo, you can neutralize anger about Summit participation.
You will also bring real benefit to the lives of all Cubans and create an atmosphere for internally driven reform, potentially removing the issue of inclusion from the next Summit.
Has it been announced who will host the tenth Summit? What will have been gained if the US Pyrrhic victory of successful exclusion is turned around in three years?
I have developed this point in posts to the State Department and White House that can be seen here https://cubapeopletopeople.blogspot.com/2021/07/mcauliff-messages-to-white-house-and.html
Dear Mr. Assistant Secretary,
You are no doubt in Los Angeles, without time or inclination to read this message. However, I wanted to share my somewhat expanded thoughts as sent to Secretary Blinken below.
In addition to old school polemics, the latest MinRex statement has elements that could be built on:
- One cannot speak of “The Americas” without including all the countries of the hemisphere. Our region demands cooperation, not exclusion; solidarity, not meanness; respect, not arrogance; sovereignty and self-determination, not subordination....
- We are also fully confident that the leaders of the region, who choose to attend, will argue with dignity that the United States cannot treat our peoples as they used to in the 20th century.
- Cuba supports the genuine efforts to promote integration throughout the hemisphere based on civilized coexistence, peace, respect for diversity and solidarity. Cuba has a widely acknowledged record of unreserved support and contribution to all legitimate proposals for actual and concrete solutions to the most pressing problems faced by our peoples. The reality we are presented with today is far from such aspirations.
- as the host of the summit, we do have wide discretion in terms of invitations. We greatly value the diversity of opinions that we’ve heard from our neighbors in the hemisphere about participation in the summit, what that should look like,....
- We, again, recognize and respect the position of our allies in supporting – in support of inclusive dialogue. We also note, as I have, that non-governmental representatives will be in attendance from Cuba, from Venezuela, and from Nicaragua.
Let the sun break through the LA smog
Fund for Reconciliation and Development
- Dear Secretary Blinken,
- Ned Price spoke of your personal involvement into Sunday night about the issue of participation in the Summit. He also noted today, "We will continue to have an opportunity to discuss the issues that are at the heart of this summit with those partners."
- Choosing ideological exclusion has guaranteed that participation and thus US relations with Cuba will be a major topic of this Summit and its historical record. What else is remembered from Cartagena?
- Based on your strong expression of principle against spheres of influence regarding Russia and Ukraine, I am assuming you were on the inclusion side of the argument within the Biden Administration.
- In any case I believe there is only one way now to save the atmosphere of the Summit and advance US interests in the Hemisphere.
- In his opening speech, the President should acknowledge the underlying problem of the universally opposed US embargo of Cuba. He can unite with every nation in the room and say with integrity that ending the embargo has the best chance to foster self-directed change in Cuba and to improve the living conditions of its people. Hopefully that will remove the dispute about participation from the next Summit where a different decision is likely. (It also stops Cuba's deflection to the US of responsibility for many of its problems.)
- Following is a message to the White House I posted this morning.
- John McAuliff
- Fund for Reconciliation and Development
- Dear Mr. President,
- Whoever advised you to blow off our region and exclude Cuba from the Summit of the Americas should be fired.
- If Bloomberg's report is correct that the decision is made, you have compromised a major Hemispheric event and the reputation of the US. by giving priority to domestic inertia, ideology and politics.
- Attitudinally, the US is behaving toward Cuba with the same hegemonism as Russia exhibits to Ukraine. Our double standards and historical insularity in the Americas constrains even the appeal of our righteous cause in Europe and benefits only China's agenda in our Hemisphere.
- You had begun to honor your campaign promises to restore engagement with Cuba and deserve full appreciation for those steps once they are actually accomplished.
- However, you need to pivot from the embarrassment of Los Angeles just as President Obama did from his isolation at the Cartagena Summit and finish the job of full normalization.
- You could regain ground if your speech in Los Angeles accepts the conflict about participation and includes commitment to put aside real political differences with Cuba, just as we do with Vietnam.
- Imagine the healing impact if you pledge to respect universal opinion in the hemisphere and the world by ending the embargo through all possible executive action and leadership with Congress.
- Only in that way can you hope to achieve your legitimate goals of greater freedom and democracy.
- I believe in you as President but fear you have been badly served by your advisors.
- John McAuliff
- Fund for Reconciliation and Development
- "Experts: Summit of Americas may erode regional relations" By LIU YINMENG in Los Angeles | CHINA DAILY
- "Exclusion of countries from Americas Summit a 'mistake,' says Chilean president"
After the breakthrough of the migration talks, I was deeply disappointed by the Associated Press report that Assistant Secretary Nichols believes the US will bar Cuba from the Summit of the Americas.
As AP wrote, "The decision to exclude Cuba’s communist government would seem to dampen hopes for some sort of reconciliation following four years of escalating tensions with the Trump administration."
The Assistant Secretary is correct that Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua "are considered by most of the countries in the region to be undemocratic" but that is irrelevant. Remember how isolated the US was at the Colombia Summit and the good will expressed in Panama? The Hemisphere is all of the Hemisphere. Its identity is not a token for US political interests.
Since he noted “The White House will determine who is invited,”, I have just posted this to the White House contact system:
- Dear Mr. President,
- According to the Associated Press the White House will decide soon whether
the Summit of the Americas abandons its inclusive character.
- It is demeaning to the Summit and to the US government for domestic politics to compromise the vital multilateral agenda of this event:
- "In the letter, [Florida Republican] lawmakers also called on Biden to prohibit representatives from the regimes of Miguel Díaz-Canel in Cuba, Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela, and Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua from attending the Summit."
- The blame for an historic reversal will fall entirely on the Biden Administration. Cuba's Vice Minister de Cossio discussed the Summit very positively in this post migration meeting interview with Dr. Arturo Lopez-Levy (at 15:35) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nw6HDi0X6Lw&t=512s
- US back-sliding on the Summit is not only damaging in the Hemisphere but will also affect US efforts to maintain and broaden the coalition opposed to Russia's horrific invasion of Ukraine.
- Is satisfying your opponents who seek to use US policy for parochial
self-interest worth sabotaging the purpose of the Summit? Despite legitimate
US criticism of Cuba's authoritarian political system, do we dispute that
country is highly regarded in the Americas and worldwide for its commitment to
the Summit's goals of "Building a Sustainable, Resilient, and Equitable
- By overreaching ideologically to exclude Russia from the UN Human Rights Council, the US significantly diminished its support from 141 to 93 votes. Do we want to risk alienating from the established Summit process the governments of Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Honduras, Costa Rica, Peru, possibly by then Colombia, as well as several Caribbean countries, not to mention the likely next leader of Brazil?
- A non-inclusive Summit directly contravenes Secretary Blinken's high minded
anti-Russian principle against "spheres of influence where one country
subjugates its neighbors to its will".
- John McAuliff
- Fund for Reconciliation and
Because of character limits I deleted this from my letter to the President:
- Florida Republicans U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott and U.S. Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart, Carlos Giménez, Maria Elvira Salazar and Mike Waltz signed the letter
Fund for Reconciliation and Development
US unlikely to invite Cuba, Nicaragua or Venezuela to summit
By JOSHUA GOODMAN
MIAMI (AP) — The Biden administration is unlikely to invite the leaders of Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba to the upcoming Summit of the Americas, a senior State Department official said Wednesday while sidestepping questions about an eventual role for Venezuela’s opposition leader at the gathering of hemispheric leaders.
The summit, to take place in Los Angeles in early June, will focus on defending democracy and human rights in the Western Hemisphere as well as addressing irregular migration, climate change and efforts to ensure equitable growth as the region emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, Assistant Secretary of State Brian Nichols told reporters.
The top U.S. diplomat in the Western Hemisphere said invitations had yet to be sent but ventured that neither Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro, Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega or Cuba’s Miguel Diaz-Canel would make the cut and are considered by most of the countries in the region to be undemocratic.
“They are unlikely to be there,” he said.
When pressed, Nichols refused to say whether opposition leader Juan Guaidó — who the U.S. recognized as Venezuela’s legitimate leader in 2019 — would be asked to attend, saying only that a decision would be made “soon.”
“The White House will determine who is invited,” Nichols said.
The intrigue over Guaidó’s role comes as the Biden administration has made tentative steps to re-engage what Nichols called the Maduro “regime.” In March, three senior U.S. officials, including the National Security Council’s Juan Gonzalez, traveled secretly to Caracas to meet with Maduro. The visit was partly prompted by U.S. National Security concerns in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has renewed interest in Venezuela, a close Russian ally that sits atop the world’s largest petroleum reserves.
Maduro reciprocated by freeing two American prisoners and promising to resume negotiations with his opponents. However, amid a backlash of criticism from hardliner exiles and even some Democrats, the backchanneling has yet to produce any concrete results.
Nichols said that the U.S. remains committed to bringing Maduro back to the negotiating table with his opponents but didn’t comment when asked whether inviting Guaidó would advance or hinder that goal.
“The democratic situation in Venezuela is an issue that we’ll obviously talk about and address at the summit but I’d ask for your patience while we wait for the White House to take a decision on how that invitation will be managed,” he said.
The decision to exclude Cuba’s communist government would seem to dampen hopes for some sort of reconciliation following four years of escalating tensions with the Trump administration.
President Barack Obama invited Cuba’s Raul Castro to the summit in 2015 as part of a quiet, sustained effort to improve relations between the two Cold War adversaries and Cuba’s foreign minister attended the last gathering, in Peru, in 2018, which then President Donald Trump skipped.
The Biden administration has taken a similarly harsh stance against Ortega, whose re-election last year to a fourth term Nichols called a “sham” after numerous of his rivals were jailed.
The U.S. is hosting the Summit of the Americas first the first time since 1994, when President Bill Clinton hosted regional leaders in Miami to push for a free trade agreement stretching from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego.
But with that ambitious goal abandoned long ago amid a rise in leftist, anti-American politics in several parts of the region, many experts have questioned the need for an expensive gathering of more than 30 heads of state each pushing their own bilateral agenda with Washington but often cooperating little amongst themselves.
The region in recent years has diversified its trade and diplomatic ties and the U.S. has largely stood by as Russia, China, Iran and other foreign powers hostile to the U.S. have gained influence.
Nichols praised the region for mostly joining the U.S. in condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But he said massive supply chain disruptions triggered by the conflict had stirred concerns in the region about the future of energy and food supplies.
“How do we address that to make sure that the people of our hemisphere can afford the food that they need to put on their table every night?” Nichols said. “These are crucial issues and that’s why our leaders are coming together.”
Follow Goodman on Twitter: @APJoshGoodman
APR 25, 2022 10:53AM EDT
Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said on Monday that the United States had decided to exclude Cuba from preparations for a summit of regional leaders, a setback for relations just days after the long-time rivals held their first high level talks in four years.
y Dave Sherwood
Bruno Rodriguez said on Monday that the United States had decided to exclude Cuba from preparations for a setback for relations just days after the long-time rivals held their first high level talks in four years.
Rodriguez said that the United States was pressuring regional governments to block Cuba from participating in the in June in Los Angeles.
"The government of the United States has decided to exclude Cuba from the preparations for the 9th Summit of the Americas," told reporters.
"I respectfully call on Secretary of State (Antony) Blinken to say, in an honest way, if Cuba will be invited or not to the 9th Summit of the Americas."
The U.S. State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Rodriguez's statement.
Cuba participated in both the 2015 and 2018 summits, after allying governments pressured for their inclusion, but had not previously attended the summits.
Rodriguez, in a televised address to reporters in Havana, acknowledged some "positive signs" emanating from the United States, including last week's talks between Cuba and U.S. officials in Washington to discuss a surge in Cuban migrants arriving at the U.S. border with Mexico.
Those talks, however, did not yield fresh agreements to deal with the burgeoning crisis.
Communist-run Cuba has maintained that the United States is seeking to foment strife and suffering on the island by tightening Cold War-era sanctions to create economic hardship while at the same time throwing up barriers to migration.
The island's government has demanded the United States issue more visas and restore consular services in Havana for Cubans wishing to travel to the United States.
The U.S. embassy in Havana in 2017 slashed staffing and moved visa services for Cubans wishing to travel to the United States to third countries, including Guyana, in South America, after some of its workers began to complain of unexplained health problems.
The number of Cuban migrants arriving at the border with the United States has recently spiked amid economic crisis in Cuba, nearly doubling in March over the previous month.
(Reporting by Dave Sherwood Editing by Alistair Bell)
Florida Republicans Call on Joe Biden to Invite Maduro Regime Opponent to the Summit of the Americas
April 22, 2022, 9:00 am
This week, Republicans in the Florida congressional delegation sent a letter to President Joe Biden calling on him to invite Juan Guaidó, the democratically-elected President of the National Assembly of Venezuela, to attend the Summit of the Americas, which the United States will host in Los Angeles the week of June 6-10, 2022.
In the letter, the lawmakers also called on Biden to prohibit representatives from the regimes of Miguel Díaz-Canel in Cuba, Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela, and Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua from attending the Summit. Additionally, the lawmakers urged Biden to support the passage of the bicameral, bipartisan “Banning Operations and Leases with the Illegitimate Venezuelan Authoritarian Regime (BOLIVAR) Act,” which would prohibit federal agencies from doing business with anyone that supports the Maduro regime.
Florida Republicans U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott and U.S. Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart, Carlos Giménez, Maria Elvira Salazar and Mike Waltz signed the letter which is below.
Dear President Biden:
As you announced earlier this year, the United States will host the ninth Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, California during the week of June 6-10, 2022. This will be the first Summit of the Americas hosted in the United States since the very first Summit in 1994, which was held in Miami, Florida.
Unfortunately, in Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, we are seeing our enemies like Communist China, Russia and Iran stepping in and propping up totalitarian leaders in their effort to destabilize the region. America needs to be a leading voice for freedom, democracy, the rule of law, human rights and good governance in our hemisphere. Having spent years representing Floridians and the millions of Hispanic-Americans who call the Sunshine State home, we fully understand the importance of this Summit in achieving that goal.
That’s why, today, we write to urge that you invite Juan Guaidó, the democratically-elected President of the National Assembly of Venezuela, to attend the Summit. President Guaidó is the legitimate, democratically elected leader of Venezuela and he represents the interests of freedom-loving Venezuelans who are fed up with Nicolás Maduro’s tyranny, oppression and genocide. President Guaidó and representatives of his government deserve a seat at the Summit, while dictator Maduro certainly does not.
It is critically important that we do not allow the Summit to legitimize the tyrants in Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. The United States must prohibit representatives from the illegitimate regimes of Miguel Díaz-Canel in Cuba, Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela and Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua from attending the Summit. These men are dictators who are starving their own people, jailing political dissidents and cracking down on peaceful protests. Welcoming these evil and illegitimate leaders, or the representatives of their sham governments, to the United States would be nothing short of gross appeasement that hurts the movements for freedom and democracy in these nations.
We have been very outspoken about the threats posed to the United States and our fellow democratic nations by totalitarian and corrupt enemies, like Maduro, Ortega and the illegitimate communist regime in Cuba – and the horrific human rights abuses occurring at their direction. These regimes have failed to uphold the basic principles of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, and have forfeited a position at the Summit.
During the Summit, we urge you to highlight the fights of democracy activists like José Daniel Ferrer, who has been unjustly imprisoned and tortured by thugs in Cuba for almost nine months, while artists, musicians and even children were imprisoned following the July 11 protests. Further, we believe that the United States should use the Summit to highlight how adversaries, like Russia, Communist China and Iran, support and collaborate with these gross regimes to destabilize the region, promote socialism and bolster Marxist-terrorist groups like FARC.
Finally, ahead of the Summit, we urge you to support the passage of the Banning Operations and Leases with the Illegitimate Venezuelan Authoritarian Regime (BOLIVAR) Act, which would prohibit federal agencies from doing business with anyone that supports the oppressive Maduro regime. Under no circumstances should we lift sanctions on Maduro or his thugs, and there is no world in which it makes sense to purchase Venezuelan oil. The BOLIVAR Act, led by Senator Scott and Congressman Waltz, is a bicameral, bipartisan bill that was unanimously approved by the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee in March 2021. This good bill deserves your full support, and signing it into law ahead of the Summit would send a strong message of American leadership.
We must be clear and unapologetic in standing up to the thugs who are oppressing the people of Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba. Within all applicable rules and regulations, we encourage you to use this unique opportunity to strongly show America’s unwavering support for freedom and democracy across the Western Hemisphere.
***********************Background Press Call By Senior Administration Officials On the Summit of the Americas
1) The ignorance of one of the journalists, Gustau: "Cuba participated for the first time in this Summit of the Americas in the summit in Panama. It was not invited in Peru’s. "
As you know, Cuba like the US and half a dozen other countries was not represented by its President, but sent the Foreign Minister. Its exclusion from this Summit will inescapably be a step backwards from even Trump.
2) "the direction that the President has been to be tough on the regime, but soft on the Cuban people"
Really? Self-delusion or spin? What about prolonging Trump/Bolton/Claver-Carone assaults on remittances, gifts, people to people travel and exchanges, flights to regional cities, hotel use (and therefore tips), etc.
3) "the operating assumption is that we look forward to welcoming the democratically elected leaders of the Organization of American States"
Do we really want to get into an argument about definitions of democratic process in different countries, especially when ours is under such stress. The Summit is explicitly not the same thing as the OAS. It is also no longer the Summit of the Countries We Like in the Americas.
Our theme should be that despite ideological differences, all the countries of the Americas have interests in common, not least transnational problems like environment and drugs.