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Friday, August 12 2022

Summit of Americas concludes in LA amid protests

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Los Angeles: The US-hosted Summit of the Americas concluded in Los Angeles amid protests against the exclusion of some Latin American countries and human rights violations, among others.

The exclusion of Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela has led to questions about the legitimacy of the event overall, and increased the presence of critics, reports Xinhua news agency.

Attending the summit were many heads of state from throughout the Americas, who gathered to discuss key issues affecting their countries’ and the region’s future, such as trade, immigration, economic development, climate change, post-Covid recovery and more.

At the summit, US President Joe Biden pledged to tackle escalating levels of mass migration and economic depression that are plaguing the countries south of the American border and announced $1.9 billion in corporate investment alone for Latin America.

But scepticism remains as some countries felt the US is not doing enough to help their closest allies and neighbours, including President Ivan Duque of Colombia who pointed out that his country actually received less than 30 per cent of the international pledges made last year to help his country absorb the massive influx of Venezuelan refugees.

“We need to match pledges with disbursements,” Duque insisted.

Controversy and scepticism arose even before the summit convened, due to the US’ refusal to invite leaders of countries such as Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela on the grounds that democracy for each nation’s citizenry was an “essential ingredient” for the future of the region.

This stance prompted some key heads of state to refuse to attend, including those of Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Bolivia, who sent representatives instead.

The lack of faith that traditional leadership would take the steps necessary to solve the mounting problems and inequities in the region prompted activist, worker, women, minority, academic and other changemaker groups to take matters into their own hands.

They held their own concurrent international planning and work session, dubbed the People’s Summit, less than a mile away at the Los Angeles Trade-Tech College.

The People’s Summit addressed issues such as the rights of marginalised populations such as women, people of colour and immigrants, and did a deep dive to address other urgent issues in need of immediate attention.

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