Colombian president calls for ‘no dictators’ at Summit of the Americas as Biden weighs idea of ​​Cuba, Venezuela calls

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Colombian President Ivan Duque Marquez has thrown his weight into the debate over the upcoming Summit of the Americas, saying dictatorships should be unwelcome, while chaos still swirled around the Biden administration’s planning for the forum.

The Ninth Summit of the Americas is scheduled to be held in Los Angeles, California, beginning Monday. The conference, which began in 1994, brings together countries in the Western Hemisphere within the Organization of American States and focuses on promoting pro-democracy values ​​and coordination between heads of state The largest and most influential companies in the region.

Fox News spoke with President Duque about the upcoming summit during an exclusive interview Thursday, and the leader insisted that only democracies should be allowed to participate.

“All members of the Organization of American States, we all defend democracy. And if you want to be a member of the organization, you have to defend democracies. So I clearly think that the Summit of the Americas will not be an instrument of non-democratic regimes to participate in order to try to obtain diplomatic legitimacy. I think it will not Dictatorship is participating in the Summit of the Americas,” he told Fox News.

Colombian President Ivan Duque Marquez addresses the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN Headquarters on Wednesday, September 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Colombian President Ivan Duque Marquez addresses the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN Headquarters on Wednesday, September 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

The controversy over this year’s summit has developed because the Biden administration has not yet released the final list of invited countries or the final agenda. In addition, protests were planned by Latin American immigrants outside the event to protest the authoritarian leadership in some countries, such as Nicaragua, Cuba, Venezuela and others.

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In addition, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who has not yet announced whether he will attend, has threatened to boycott the event if invitations are not extended to Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela.

In response to a question about President Lopez saying that the forum should be open to all, Duque opposed.

“I will not enter into a conflict with President Lopez Obrador, I have a good relationship with him. But perhaps if we disagree on that, I respectfully disagree because I think this forum is not a forum for dictatorships to participate in. It is clearly the value of democracy that united the hemisphere.”

“The Inter-American Democratic Charter signed on September 11, 2001, is the major achievement diplomatically in that we have rejected any form of authoritarian rule in the hemisphere. So this was not a forum for autocrats. This is a forum for people who clearly embrace the value of democracy.”

The Colombian president plans to focus on three major issues while attending the summit: migration, solutions to climate change, and economic revitalization resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Duque touted a new breakthrough in immigration during his interview with Fox News, saying that Colombia has granted one million Temporary Protected Status cards to Venezuelans entering the country. The President also stressed the opportunity that Colombia should pave the way for solving the problem of climate change.

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 02: US President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the recent mass shootings from the White House on June 2, 2022 in Washington, DC.

WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 02: US President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the recent mass shootings from the White House on June 2, 2022 in Washington, DC.
(Photo by Kevin Deitch/Getty Images)

“I think there is a need for economic revitalization in the post-pandemic world. The US can bring in a lot of assets from its companies that were in Asia in order to be close to the US market but at the same time open business opportunities for many people in the countries of America Latin I think clearly that would be a deterrent to more immigration movement towards the southern border of the United States.

Sergio de la Peña, the former deputy assistant secretary of defense for Western Hemisphere affairs at the Pentagon and a retired US Army officer, told Fox News that he agreed with Duque that the forum should only welcome democracies, and that Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela did not fit in. Standards.

De la Peña said the summit generally takes “security and prosperity” as core principles, and is designed to be “an opportunity for the leadership of this hemisphere to come together to discuss issues of common interest.”

He said that it was “the right of the host” to extend invitations to world leaders, but in general it was appropriate that invitations had been sent at least three months before to heads of state. In addition, he said, it was not helpful that the Biden administration had not released an agenda, and should have set some expectations for the outcomes reached before the summit.

The former defense official said that although the role of the host country is to define the message for the forum, “democracy promotion is huge.”

He cited Bolivia and Chile as examples of countries following a “model” not unlike Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua.

De la Peña continued, “I hope that something positive will come out of the summit. The United States remains the indispensable leader in this hemisphere. The United States must show a level of confident leadership in managing these summits. There is a feeling that the United States is well controlled.”

Isaias Medina, one of the first Venezuelan diplomats to resign in June 2017 in protest of the policies of dictator Nicolas Maduro, also told Fox News that the summit’s message should be “deterrence against rogue anti-democratic states.”

“To be unwelcome at the Summit of the Americas, it must certainly include the black jousting of American oil companies,” Medina told Fox News. [that] Continue to partner with Maduro’s narco-kleptocracy regime. The United States allowing Chevron to get around the sanctions money for a gas-lit autocratic dictatorship is no different than giving a blank check to Putin himself to use against Ukraine because Maduro and Putin have joint accounts drying up the country.”

“The message at the Summit of the Americas should be a clear and unwavering deterrence against rogue anti-democratic states and proxy militias, not just in words but in deeds, as Venezuela ramps up oil development with the help of Chevron-Hezbollah, the National Liberation Army, and the FARC celebrates as a guest Invisible at the summit to catalyze money from Maduro’s criminal syndicate to harvest terrorist organizations three hours from Miami. Is he putting money in Maduro’s pocket in the interest of the Americas?” continued Medina, who also served as Minister Counselor at the Venezuelan Mission to the United Nations in New York.

White House Press Secretary Karen-Jean-Pierre was asked this week during the weekly press conference about the final list of invitations and the agenda for the summit, to which she replied that the administration was “still giving our partners time to decide.”

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She continued, “As you can see from the press reports, there have been quite a few heads of state who have confirmed through their own declaration. But again, you know, I always bring this back because what’s really important next week is that people from all over the region come together to confront The primary challenges facing the people of the hemisphere. Well. Including the economic boom, climate change, the migration crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic. So there are a range of issues for the region that we’d like to discuss. These are priorities. These are very important priorities. And that’s what you’ll see next week Others will confirm if they will attend. We won’t do that until we have a final list and our partners have been given opportunities to make a decision.”

press secretary too It said “I think if you’ve been following this administration for a year and a half, there won’t be a single week at the eleventh hour when it comes to how things are moving,” he said Wednesday when asked why the White House did not confirm details less than a week before the summit began. For us as the White House.”

Fox News also asked the State Department this week about the possibility of the Biden administration inviting a lower-level representative from Cuba and whether there was a plan in place to prevent a boycott of Mexico.

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State Department spokesman Ned Price responded that the administration was “confident” of a strong presence from Latin American countries and the private sector at the forum.

“We have been in close contact with many of our partners across the region. Again, without reading those discussions. We are confident that the Summit will represent – ​​the nations will be representative of the opportunities and challenges we face. Together as partners in the Americas,” Price said.

Nicholas Kallman of Fox News contributed to this report.