Biden opens Summit of Americas, calls for unity in region


 ‘Our region is large and diverse,’ says US president

President Joe Biden kicked off the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, California on Wednesday, calling for unity among the countries of the region despite disagreements.

“As we meet again today, in a moment when democracy is under assault around the world, let us unite again and renew our conviction that democracy is not only the defining feature of American histories but the essential ingredient to (the) Americas’ futures,” said Biden.

He was speaking at the opening ceremony of the summit, which runs through Friday. Absent from the summit are the leaders of three nations — Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua — who were excluded after the Biden administration decided against inviting them.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is one of the leaders that is not attending the summit, sending his minister of foreign affairs on his behalf.

“Our region is large and diverse. We don’t always agree on everything, but because we’re democracies, we work through our disagreements with mutual respect and dialogue,” said Biden.

He said that during the summit, the nations of the Americas have the opportunity to gather around “some bold ideas, ambitious actions” and to show “our people the incredible power of democracies to deliver concrete benefits and make life better for everyone.”

The president also highlighted the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The COVID-19 pandemic hit our region particularly hard. While we account for just 12% of the global population, we experienced more than 40% of reported global pandemic-related deaths.

“It’s an enormous tragedy that has left too many families grief-stricken,” he said.

“And the ensuing economic crisis, triggered by the pandemic, ravaged economies throughout the hemisphere, wiping out much of the hard-earned progress we had made.”

– Migration

The president also touched on the migration issue, saying safe and orderly migration is “good for all of our economies, including the United States.”

“It can be a catalyst for sustainable growth. But unlawful migration is not acceptable. And we will enforce our borders, including through innovative, coordinated action with our regional partners,” he added.



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