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Summit of the Americas: a Solution to the Migration Crisis Without the Necessary Support

The Summit of the Americas left a pact of countries to solve the migratory crisis, but without the image of a united region to move it forward .

Members and participants of the Summit of the Americas

Photo: TW-SummitAmericas

LatinAmerican Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández

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Leer en español: Cumbre de las Américas: una solución a la crisis migratoria sin el apoyo necesario

Many will say that the most recent Summit of the Americas, organized in Los Angeles, was a success. In fact, it can be qualified as outstanding: it left a firm migratory pact and had the participation of most of the nations of the Americas. However, absences outweighed attendances , leaving Biden in a weakened leadership position.

On the one hand, the United States reaffirmed in not inviting the governments of Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua. Its authoritarian and dictatorial government systems were the reasons why Washington decided not to have the representation of 3 important countries in the area.

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As a measure of solidarity with the Latino peoples, 3 countries led a boycott as a form of protest with the guest list. Mexico, Honduras, and Bolivia decided not to attend. Added to these are the last-minute absences of President Lacalle Pou of Uruguay and Alejandro Giammattei of Guatemala. The first because he tested positive for coronavirus before traveling and the second because of "agenda issues", although he had previously been cautious about a possible non-invitation from Washington (which eventually came).

However, when the main topic of the summit was the migratory crisis, it highlights that the main places of origin of these migrants are precise: Venezuela, Honduras, Mexico, and Cuba, among others. This makes it clear that the solution that is achieved is not a solution that involves a large part of the origin of the migrants. Either because they were not invited or refused to attend (the heads of state, since several delegations did travel) what happened continues to show that the migratory issue continues to be secondary, above diplomatic policy.

Migratory Pact

In parallel, while the meeting was taking place in the most important urban center in the western United States, 15,000 migrants left southern Mexico for the border to seek asylum. What was going to represent a headache for Biden, of having 15,000 migrants used as a campaign by the Republican party, could be "dissolved" early.

However, this does not suggest that the same migrants give up their journey north. This means that the countries of the region will have to coordinate and solve the problem. In this sense, this was what was attempted in Los Angeles with most of the region's presidents. The greatest achievement of the summit was the signing of a migration pact. It is an agreement between the participating countries that seek to improve the conditions of migrants throughout the American continent, especially for those who go north and end up in a bottleneck the closer they get to the United States.

The pact seeks to solve the migration crisis and reduce the flow of migrants to the United States. It will require a lot of political will, investment, and coordination between all the countries of the continent. The 20 signatories agreed on a plan to solve the migration crisis that the entire continent is experiencing. In this, the United States promised to increase its annual refugee quota to 20,000 from next year.

Likewise, both the American superpower and Canada will expand their quota of temporary workers, with the intention that more and more workers from poor countries can work in rich countries. For this, even Spain, an observer country of the summit, promised to double the circular migration program for Hondurans. According to the BBC, today, this program only has 250 people with Catracha citizenship. In the same way, Washington announced that it will allocate billions of dollars to also help the millions of Venezuelan migrants in Latin America.

For their part, Mexico, Costa Rica, Belize, and Ecuador are committed to facilitating asylum and refugee application processes for migrants. Others, like Colombia, also maintain their policy of receiving Venezuelans, being the main destination of the exodus. But, on the other hand, no commitment was made clear on the part of Brazil, the most populous country in the region and with the largest economy.

A Much More Hostile Continent for the United States

If this latest summit of the American States has made anything clear, it is that the relationship between the United States and the rest of the region is in crisis. Not only because of the non-invitation of the Governments of Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua but also because the solidarity of several of the countries was with those who were absent and not with Washington.

Along with the notable absences of the Mexican president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the president of Honduras, Xiomara Castro, or the president of Bolivia, Luis Arce, likewise, their counterparts from Argentina and Belize criticized the non-invitation of the 3 countries. Many are even beginning to propose a new order or body to replace the already battered OAS since they consider it an instrument of American imperialism.

The worrying thing is that more than not listening to 3 important countries such as Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba, it is that these dictatorships are gaining diplomatic weight from Joe Biden. The relations that Donald Trump broke and that he has not been able to rebuild as the current president, show a battered North American leadership. Susceptible to boycotts and criticism, today the United States does not seem to convince all the countries that sanctions against totalitarian and anti-democratic regimes such as those of Chavismo, Castroism, and Ortega must unite the region.

Clearly, the incoherent actions in recent North American history make many alternative governments see the diplomacy of sanctions imposed today by the Biden administration as a threat.

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