Biden wants Mexican leader at LA summit amid boycott threat

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US President Joe Biden is eager for Mexico's leader to attend next week's Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, a top aide said Wednesday, amid a scramble following boycott threats.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, a leftist populist, has warned that he will not go to the June 6-10 summit without the governments of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, shunned by Washington as autocratic.

Juan Gonzalez, the senior White House adviser on Latin America, said that the United States wanted the relationship to "remain positive" with its immediate neighbor to the south.

"We very much want President Lopez Obrador there. The president of the United States very personally wants the president of Mexico there," Gonzalez told reporters by telephone.

Less than a week before the summit is set to begin, the United States has not yet released a list of guests.

"We still have some final considerations but we will, I think, inform people publicly soon about the final invitation list," Gonzalez said.

He said the Biden administration was focused on the substance of the summit including building "a more inclusive and prosperous future for the hemisphere."

The administration previously said it wants to showcase democracy in Latin America, and would still invite members of the Cuban, Venezuelan and Nicaraguan civil society.

In the case of Venezuela, a senior US official told Congress last week that the United States has said it will "absolutely not" invite representatives of President Nicolas Maduro, whom Washington considers illegitimate after a 2018 election marred by widespread accounts of irregularities.

Gonzalez reiterated that the United States still recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as the interim president but said it recognized other views -- a nod to Mexico, which unlike most of the Western Hemisphere still recognizes Maduro.

"Ultimately the host prerogative is important, but we also are wanting to facilitate a broad hemispheric discussion," Gonzalez said.


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