Saint Vincent & the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves confirmed that his country will not send representation to the Summit of the Americas to be held in Los Angeles from June 6 to 10.
"I'm not going to go because I don't see what is to be gained from it," Gonsalves said and explained his stance by recalling that U.S. President Joe Biden did not invite Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua to the meeting, alleging that these countries are not "democratic." Washington's decision to exclude those nations has also been questioned by the governments of Mexico, Bolivia, Guatemala, Argentina, Honduras, Chile, and Panama.
"Our friendship has to be grounded in elemental respect and, truth be told, our U.S. friends have failed us. Besides, they profoundly ignored that matter," stressed Gonsalves, who is one of the longest-serving leaders of the 15-member group. of The Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
He maintained that although the representatives of the countries of this intergovernmental organization will be present at the Los Angeles summit, they will show their disagreement with Washington's veto of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua.
"You can't have a Summit of the Americas with just a few people. You must include everyone," Gonsalves insisted, adding that the hemisphere is slipping backwards in its search for consensus. In this regard, he recalled that Cuba was invited to the 2015 Summit of the Americas, where Barack Obama and Raul Castro very respectfully shared the same space.
"Why are we fighting these 20th century battles in the third decade of the 21st century? Our U.S. friends are wrong on this matter. I respect President Biden very much, but I cannot agree with his administration on this issue," Gonsalves said, adding that his country's relations with Washington remain at an excellent level as always.
Last week, CARICOM leaders held a virtual meeting to discuss their attendance at the U.S.-convened meeting in Los Angeles, but were unable to reach a consensus on the matter.