LOS ANGELES (Border Report) — As the Summit of the Americas welcomed its host, President Joe Biden, the talk surrounding the event centered on a noticeable absentee, Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
Journalists working outside the Los Angeles Convention Center, where the event is being held, talked about AMLO boycotting the summit.
Javier Montiel, a reporter based in Los Angeles told Border Report that López Obrador not being here is a mistake.
“The United States and Mexico have historically been allies and trading partners, this relationship might be fractured in many ways,” said Montiel.
AMLO said on Monday he wasn’t coming because some countries from the region were excluded.
The White House chose not to invite Cuba, Nicaragua or Venezuela to the summit and it led to López Obrador skipping it.
“There can’t be a Summit of the Americas if not all countries of the American continent are taking part,” said Mexico’s president.
López Obrador did state Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard would attend the summit in his place.
But if you ask Montiel, it’s still a bad look for López Obrador .
“This will not benefit the relationship between Mexico and the United States, there will only be detriments.”
Montiel said he wasn’t the only one who sees López Obrador’s nonappearance at the summit as a negative.
“I’m sure other journalists here believe it the same way I do.”
On Monday, López Obrador also mentioned that his presence at the summit was not totally necessary since he is planning on visiting President Joe Biden in Washington next month.
Journalists like Montiel aren’t the only ones who believe López Obrador’s absence at the summit is an issue.
Anti-trafficking organizations like the Sunita Jain Anti-Trafficking Initiative (SJI) at Loyola Law School explain how not having every leader from the Western Hemisphere will “only further deteriorate conditions.”
“Human trafficking knows no bounds or borders, vulnerable populations in Los Angeles become just as susceptible to trafficking as people in other Latin American countries,” said Joseph Villela, State Policy Director with SJI. “The root causes of trafficking remain the same, and we can only address and dismantle those root causes if all voices are brought to the table. The summit should include human trafficking and have brought together the private sector, government, indigenous communities, and social justice organizations to adopt an intersectional approach to the summit.”