Biden’s Democracy Summit begins Thursday; see who participates and controversies involving the event | World

This Thursday (9) and Friday (10) Joe Biden’s government is promoting a Summit for Virtual Democracy, to which it has invited representatives of more than 100 government representatives, as well as activists, journalists, private sector leaders and others prominent members of civil society.

Because of the Covid pandemic, the meetings will all be held remotely.

US President Joe Biden during a visit to the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority in Missouri on Wednesday (8) — Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP

The idea is that the summit serves as a platform for leaders to “announce new commitments, reforms and initiatives” based on three pillars: the defense of democracy against authoritarianism, the fight against corruption and respect for human rights, he said in Tuesday (7) an American government official, who requested anonymity.

Before it even started, however, the event generated controversy due to its criteria for invitations. Some important countries were left out, such as China, Russia and Saudi Arabia, which could lead to believe that nations that disrespect human rights would be avoided.

  • Biden exposes inconsistency in guest list for democracy summit

However, as columnist Sandra Cohen points out, Pakistan and the Philippines, which also do not have an exemplary record on this issue, were called to participate. The difference would be some partnerships maintained by these countries with the US.

Eight Latin American countries also left the list: Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba, Bolivia, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Haiti.

Regarding Venezuela, however, opposition leader Juan Guaidó was invited. The latter, in turn, included opponents from other countries in its official delegation, such as Nicaraguan Berta Valle and Cuban Rosa María Payá, which generated strong criticisms from Cuba.

Brazil is on the guest list.

“It is very likely that these absences from the summit will be counterproductive both for the interests of the United States and for democracy in the region,” Michael Shifter, president of the NGO Inter-American Dialogue, told Agence France Presse.

The excluded can interpret that the United States applies the policy of ‘if it’s not with me, it’s against me’ and end up in two groups, “the democracies and the others”, says Christopher Sabatini, a researcher at the Chatham House organization.

“If you don’t act with caution, (Biden) can create two blocs” without each of them necessarily having an ideological affinity, so that “the club of the good guys would get diplomatic benefits and recognition in the White House, and the others would be left behind ”, he explains.

Another issue discussed by the US press on the eve of the event is the situation of democracy within the United States itself, and whether the country would be, at this moment, the best example of a full and functional democracy.

Local elected officials are resigning at an alarming rate amid clashes with angry voices at school board meetings, polling offices and city halls, notes the Associated Press.

In addition, states are passing laws to limit access to ballots, making it harder for Americans to vote. And the Jan. 6 attack on Capitol Hill left many Republicans clinging to Donald Trump’s false allegations of a stolen election.

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About Abhishek Pratap

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