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Eight Latin American countries not invited to the Summit for Democracy

While some flawed democracies were invited, others were left off of the list

President Joe Biden
President Joe Biden | Shutterstock

November 25, 2021 9:28pm

Updated: November 25, 2021 10:48pm

On Wednesday, the Department of State published the list of countries that will participate in President Joe Biden’s Summit for Democracy. Eight Latin American countries were not invited to participate.

The Summit for Democracy, organized by the Biden administration, will take place on December 9 and 10. The summit aims to renew “democracy in the United States and around the world.”

“The summit will focus on challenges and opportunities facing democracies and will provide a platform for leaders to announce both individual and collective commitments, reforms, and initiatives to defend democracy and human rights at home and abroad,” said the Department of State.

The summit will bring together 100 countries. Among the countries that were not invited were eight Latin American countries: Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia, El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti.

It is clear that the non-democratic countries of Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua were left without an invitation. All three countries are under an authoritarian dictatorship and have a long record of human rights abuses.

However, it is not clear why Biden left out Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. While all three countries are plagued by corruption, they are not considered totalitarian dictatorships and are just as troubled as other countries that were invited to the summit.

The administration’s decisions of who to invite have been controversial. Other deeply flawed democracies were invited to the summit, including Iraq, Brazil, Serbia, and the Philippines, signaling that Biden took strategic considerations about who he invited.

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has said in the past he "care[s] about human rights," yet he was invited to the online forum with “absolutely no conditions” on his attendance.

Brazil’s President, Jair Bolsonaro, has also been accused of undermining democracy in Latin America, attacking political opponents, and undermining the free press.

 When asked about the countries that were invited, a U.S. diplomat said Biden focused on  "countries that we assess set a high bar for themselves and for others and that demonstrate will and progress on renewing democratic values, policies, and institutions."