“No country should be left” alone in the face of growing population movements that see thousands of people trying to cross the border between Mexico and the United States, fleeing misery and insecurity, said US President Joe Biden Friday.
Standing with the other signatories of the “Los Angeles Declaration”, lined up in front of a row of flags, he affirmed that “safe” and “legal” immigration benefited economic development, but also considered that it was necessary to “protect borders” against illegal entry, with “humanity”.
Joe Biden wants to lay down the principle of a “shared responsibility” between states on a subject which has earned him constant attacks from the American right.
The “Los Angeles Declaration” covers various commitments or reminders of past commitments, in terms of welcoming migrants and regulating flows, but has no binding dimension.
The text, released by the White House, was signed by Argentina, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti , Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, the United States, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay.
Joe Biden hoped Friday that “other countries will see the potential” of this partnership which he described as “historic”.
In this context, the United States will welcome 20,000 refugees from Latin America in 2023 and 2024, i.e., according to the American executive, triple the number of refugees welcomed this year.
The White House has also announced an envelope of 314 million dollars in humanitarian aid, mainly for Venezuelan migrants.
More than six million Venezuelans have fled their country, in the grip of a very serious economic and social crisis.
However, according to information available to Washington, the Venezuelan government of Nicolas Maduro and the opposition led by Juan Guaido “intend” to resume a political dialogue, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday.
Mr. Blinken repeated that the United States was “really ready to support” any effort of dialogue, and hinted that positive results would lead to a review of the sanctions imposed on Caracas.
Neither Venezuela, Cuba nor Nicaragua were invited by Washington to the summit, which sparked strong criticism from some leaders and an outright boycott from the President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador.
The Summit of the Americas, launched in 1994 in Miami and which has not been held in the United States since, is supposed to celebrate a new era in relations on the continent, in particular after the clashes that marked the presidency of Donald Trump.
But it ends, for the Americans, on a mixed record.
Joe Biden thus experienced a real moment of diplomatic embarrassment on Thursday when the Prime Minister of Belize and then the President of Argentina criticized him for the absence of Cuba and Venezuela, in the middle of a plenary session, and when he was seated a few feet away.
The American head of state cut a good figure, applauding all the interventions, even the most critical, and shaking hands with the leaders concerned as they descended from the stage. He assured that basically, “unity” was required with the countries of the continent.
– Double satisfied –
And on Friday, he was able to rejoice in the satisfaction of Mexico and Brazil, which seemed to want to end on a positive note.
The head of Mexican diplomacy Marcelo Ebrard thus hailed the “very positive” results.
He replaced President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who stepped down to protest against the exclusion of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, which Washington accuses of not respecting democratic rules and human rights.
Mr. Ebrard insisted on a reform of the Organization of American States (OAS) in order to avoid this kind of exclusions during the next meetings. “A new agreement is proposed to the United States and the beginning of a new stage in the relationship between the Americas”, declared the Mexican minister.
As for far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, with whom there is no shortage of friction, he described his face-to-face the day before with Joe Biden as “fantastic” and made conciliatory remarks on the environment. , ensuring that Brazil could develop its agriculture while preserving the Amazon.
“We are the two largest democracies in the hemisphere. It makes sense for us to continue to work together and seek ways to deepen our partnership,” said Antony Blinken, describing the meeting as “constructive. “
The United States is worried about the growing influence of China on a region that they have always considered their backyard, and the very strong commercial dependence of all countries, including them, on Beijing.
But the Biden administration has made it clear that it will not follow the Chinese example, synonymous with big investments and major infrastructure projects in Latin America.
An anecdote came to remind us of the omnipresence of China, whose name has been mentioned very little in Los Angeles, at least publicly.
The American Chamber of Commerce thus distributed on the sidelines of the summit a blue bag filled with gifts supposed to promote American industry. But containing among other things a water bottle and sunglasses… “Made in China”.