Los Angeles has been chosen by the Biden administration to host this year's Summit of the Americas, a key collection that U.S. officials hope will help repair diplomatic fences in the Western Hemisphere.
The White House announced Tuesday night that the meeting - to be held on American soil for the second time since the forum was established nearly three decades ago - will take place in early June in Los Angeles.
The administration cited the city's "deep and robust" ties across the hemisphere as one of the reasons it was chosen, according to a White House official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the matter prior to the formal announcement.
President Biden will attend the meeting. Former President Trump skipped the last summit, which was held in Peru in 2018. The summit is scheduled to meet every three years, although this time it was delayed by a year due to the pandemic.
For the Biden administration, holding the meeting in Los Angeles provides ways to show the connection between U.S. domestic and foreign policy. The city has a large population of Latinos with family members scattered throughout Central and South America. Los Angeles has also been hit particularly hard by COVID-19, a disease that disproportionately affects Latinos.
The Los Angeles venue "is especially relevant to those of us Americans who are hyphenated," the White House official said, noting "more than 224 languages are spoken" in the Los Angeles area, which represents 140 countries.
The first such summit was held in Miami in 1994, hosted by President Clinton. It was billed as an early post-Cold War place for regional partnerships in trade, aid and security.
The Biden administration has at times struggled to formulate and execute its policies in Latin America. A focus on the so-called northern triangle of Central American countries that nurture immigration to the United States has encountered several obstacles; Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has proved mercurial and unpredictable, and Venezuela's policies aimed at ousting dictator Nicolas Maduro are in disarray.
Another difficult question is who is invited to the summit. Participation has generally been limited to democratic countries. Peru withdrew Venezuela's invitation in 2018. Cuba rarely participated except in Panama in 2015, where then-presidents Raul Castro and Obama famously shook hands and launched what would be a historic defrost of US-Cuba relations - until the Trump administration killed them. efforts.
The Biden administration official said criteria for who would be invited were still being discussed, such as whether countries like Nicaragua and El Salvador, where more and more authoritarian leaders exercise control, would cut back.