St. Vincent and the Grenadines to boycott Summit of the Americas

PM Gonsalves: Select meeting with Trump ‘troubling’
St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph E. Gonsalves.
United Nations / Ryan Brown

St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister, Dr. Ralph E. Gonsalves has said that his country will be boycotting the June 6-11 Summit of the Americas to be hosted by US President Joe Biden in Los Angeles.

“I’m not going as a result of,” said Gonsalves the state-owned National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) Radio on Wednesday. “I don’t see what’s to be gained from going. And, as presently suggested, as I say, I’m not supporting or sending anyone.

“As a result of should you invite me to come back to your home, and I say, as a matter of precept, I ain’t coming, since you shouldn’t be excluding individuals, how might I then ship any person else?” he asked.

According to reports, the Vincentian prime minister has seemingly failed to convince some of his Caribbean Community (CARICOM) colleagues not to boycott the summit because of Washington’s refusal to invite Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua to the talks.

“Plenty of them are going, and they’ll go and they’ll sit and protest by elevating the difficulty,” Gonsalves said. “As a result of all people’s agreed that these international locations shouldn’t be excluded. It’s simply the tactical method now what you’re going to make use of.

“As an example, the president of Mexico is saying that he’s not going, However, he’s sending his overseas minister,” he added. “The president of Argentina says ‘I’m going as head of CELAC — the Neighborhood of States of Latin America and the Caribbean’, and he’s saying, ‘I’m going, however, I’m going there to protest and saying that that is improper’. So, individuals have completely different tactical approaches.

“You possibly can’t have a Summit of the Americas with just some individuals. It has to incorporate all people, mature individuals throughout the Caribbean”, Gonsalves continued. “I imply, why are we combating these 20th Century battles and conflicts on this third decade of the 21st century? Our American pals are improper on this. I respect President Biden tremendously. However, I can’t agree along with his authorities on this matter.”

Despite his boycott of the summit, Gonsalves maintained that Kingstown still has “glorious relations” with Washington.

“Associates should inform pals how they really feel about one thing,” he said.

On Monday, Gonsalves said Biden has no right in deciding who or which countries should be invited to the Summit of the Americas.

“There was agreement on four principles: That the summit must be inclusive, no one must be excluded and that the President of the United States, the United States government, does not have the right to exclude anyone,” he said on NBC Radio.

“That’s not his right to exclude anyone that’s to be done in the whole of the Americas,” Gonsalves added, who recently returned from Havana, where he received Cuba’s highest national honor. “He alone can’t make that decision.”

According to the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC), the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) chairman and Belize Prime Minister, John Briceño, had confirmed that Washington is lobbying for CARICOM to change its position and not boycott the summit that the United States said is expected to focus on “Building a Sustainable, Resilient, and Equitable Future” for the hemisphere.

“We said that we would only attend if everyone is invited,” CMC quoted Briceño as saying. “As you all know, the Americans are under an intense diplomatic drive to be able to get us to attend. The Summit of the Americas is very important and we have not had one for some time now, since the pandemic.”

In addition, CMC said regional leaders had also expressed their opposition to Venezuelan Opposition Leader, Juan Guaidó, leading a Venezuelan delegation to the summit.

Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley said he was hoping that, in the “not too distant future,” CARICOM leaders would adopt a position on attending the Summit of the Americas, CMC reported.

On Thursday, the Jamaica Gleaner reported that “Washington has doubled down on its decision to exclude several neighboring states from next week’s Summit of the Americas, drawing on its position as host country to dictate attendance.

“The decision to exclude Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua — countries with which the United States has had rocky relations — has vexed several states within the hemisphere, but the Biden administration has called the matter minor in the context of global issues,” the Gleaner said.

“The stance of the US has been denounced as divisive, with mounting concerns that it could cloud the goal of the 9th summit to build a sustainable, resilient, and equitable future for the hemisphere when leaders meet from Jun. 6-10 in Los Angeles,” it added. “Those have been buttressed by suggestions that the Biden administration may invite Venezuela’s opposition leader, Juan Guaidó, who the US and at least 50 other countries have publicly recognized as the interim president of the South American country.

Juan Gonzalez, the Unites States’ national security council senior director for the Western Hemisphere, said on Wednesday that the US, as host, has to right to invite whom it wants at the summit.

“Ultimately, it’s something that as host, we have the prerogative, and we’ll make our final decision, and we’ll announce that once a decision has been made,” he told a press briefing.

“Is it a distraction from the summit? I don’t think so,” he added. “It’s hard to concentrate on something until it actually happens. We’re confident that the summit will be well attended. We’ll let the result speak for itself.”

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