Prime Minister Mia Mottley has broken her silence on the exclusion of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua from the ninth Summit of the Americas, not only criticising the decision but urging the leaders of the three missing countries to put people before ideology.
Speaking on Friday on the final day of the four-day summit held in Los Angeles, California, Mottley joined other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders who rebuked the United States government for its refusal to invite the leaders of the three nations.
“It is wrong that Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela are not here,” she declared.
President Joe Biden who hosted the hemispheric meeting had barred them from attending – a move that experts suggest cast a cloud over meaningful US relations with other countries in the Americas – because of his government’s concerns about human rights violations and a lack of democracy.
In the same vein as CARICOM leaders Prime Minister Philip Davis of The Bahamas and Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne, Prime Minister Mottley made it clear that the move was unacceptable, but issued a message to the three missing countries as well.
“As you heard from the Bahamas, we need to speak to those with whom we disagree. We don’t only need to narrowcast, that is the problem with the world. There is too much narrowcasting than broadcasting, there is too much talking instead of talking with,” she said.
“But, secondly, those countries must equally recognise that you cannot want to fully participate if you are not prepared equally to engage and to see progress, and the simple priority must be people not ideology.”
Ahead of the summit, the exclusion was a contentious issue for the regional bloc, with St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves declaring that he would not attend the talks.
“You can’t have a Summit of the Americas with only some people. It has to include everybody,” he said.
Mottley underscored the need for dialogue as she contended that the interests of people must come ahead of politics.
“I hope that we leave here today conscious that we must never again come to a summit to talk at each other, but simply to talk with each other, in partnership and for the purpose of the prosperity of our people,” she said.
On Thursday, CARICOM Chairman John Briceño, the Prime Minister of Belize, strongly condemned the exclusion of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua as inexcusable, incomprehensible, and unforgivable.
He insisted that the summit belongs to all of the Americas and “it is therefore inexcusable that all countries of the Americas are not here, and the power of the Summit diminished by their absence”.
“It is incomprehensible that we would isolate countries of the Americas which have provided strong leadership and contributed to the hemisphere on the critical issues of our time,” he said, making specific reference to Cuba which he said had provided consistent, unmatched cooperation in health to almost two-thirds of the countries in the Western Hemisphere.
Similarly, he said, Venezuela had done much toward energy security for the Caribbean region through its innovative financing programmes, and its absence from the Summit was “unforgivable”. [email protected]