Report: Biden Invites Former Colonial Ruler Spain to Summit of the Americas

The flags of Spain and the U.S. are seen on the table during a meeting of Spanish Defense Minister Margarita Robles and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin at the Pentagon, Thursday, May 19, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

The Biden administration has reportedly invited Spain to attend the Summit of the Americas, scheduled next month in Los Angeles.

The summit was already controversial in Latin America because the authoritarian regimes of Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua were not invited to attend. The invitation to former regional colonial power Spain could become a further irritation.

According to Spanish news agency EFE on Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken invited his counterpart from Spain, Jose Manuel Albares, to attend the summit.

The Summit of the Americas has been held every two or three years since 1994. The upcoming ninth summit will be the first time the event has been hosted in the United States since the inaugural summit in Miami. The summit is administered by the Organization of American States (OAS), whose charter technically restricts participation in its activities to democratically-elected governments  – a standard Communist Cuba could not even attempt to meet, although Venezuela and Nicaragua might point to the laughably fraudulent elections held by their ruling regimes.

“As Chair and Host, the United States will work with the region’s stakeholders toward securing leader-level commitments and concrete actions that dramatically improve pandemic response and resilience, promote a green and equitable recovery, build strong and inclusive democracies, and address the root causes of irregular migration. Our commitment to diversity and inclusion will underpin our efforts,” the State Department said of the event.

The list of formal invitations to the summit has not been finalized, but last month Biden administration officials indicated the dictatorships of Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela would not be invited. 

Mexico’s left-wing President Andrés Manuel López Obrador responded by threatening to boycott the summit unless all Latin American nations were invited. Bolivia, Honduras, and a group of 15 Caribbean states have threatened to join Mexico’s boycott, and on Sunday the government of Argentina said it might skip the summit as well.

FILE - President Joe Biden meets with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Nov. 18, 2021. The Summit of the Americas is a little more than two weeks away in Los Angeles, and there's still no clear answer on what countries are going. The confusion is a sign of chaotic preparations for the event, which the United States is hosting for the first time since the inaugural summit in 1994. Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has threatened to boycott if Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua aren't included. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

President Joe Biden meets with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, on November 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

For unrelated and somewhat unclear reasons, Brazil’s right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro also said he is not planning to attend the summit. Bolsonaro’s possible snub appears to be largely driven by animosity toward President Joe Biden and his administration. Biden threatened to destroy the Brazilian economy during the 2020 U.S. presidential debates. Bolsonaro responded by warning he was prepared to defend Brazil’s interests with “gunpowder.”

President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro speaks during a farewell ceremony for outgoing ministers on March 31, 2022 in Brasilia, Brazil. Bolsonaro's administration replaces nine out of 23 ministers, who resign to run for positions in October elections. (Photo by Andressa Anholete/Getty Images)

President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro speaks during a farewell ceremony for outgoing ministers on March 31, 2022, in Brasilia, Brazil. Bolsonaro does not plan on attending the upcoming Summit of the Americas. (Andressa Anholete/Getty Images)

Nicaraguan strongman Daniel Ortega said last week his government has “no interest in being at that conference” even if the Biden administration sends an invitation.

“This summit does not elevate anyone; rather, it sullies and degrades them. We Latinos must defend ourselves in order for them to respect us,” Ortega fumed.

The L.A. Times on Monday described the Summit of the Americas as another disaster in the making for Biden.

“The potential boycott has raised questions about the administration’s preparations and whether the region – mired in corruption and instability – has reached a turning point. Its countries are steadily electing leaders less concerned with democracy and with maintaining strong ties with Washington. Authoritarianism and populism are also on the rise in a region bedeviled by deep poverty and inequality,” the L.A. Times noted glumly.

Inviting Spain to the summit could well be taken as salt in the wounds of Mexico and the other countries angered by the exclusion of Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.

Also, the Cuban exile community in the United States is currently celebrating the 120th anniversary of Cuba gaining independence from Spain, so if Biden relents and does invite the Cuban regime plus Spain, it could prove doubly enraging. The Communist Party of Cuba has banned its subjects from celebrating Cuba’s revolution against Spain.

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