{"code":"26206","sect":"Central America","sect_slug":"central-america","hits":"1381","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/en\/202206\/centroamerica\/26206","link_edit":"","name":"Biden\u2019s Central America Problem on Display at L.A. Summit","slug":"biden-rsquo-s-central-america-problem-on-display-at-l-a-summit","info":"Central America, in Brief: Days before the Americas Summit in Los Angeles, the U.S. is short on friends in the Northern Triangle. Giammattei, once Biden's ally of last resort, said he will not attend amid an open feud over the reelection of the corrupt attorney general. Honduran Xiomara Castro said she wouldn\u2019t attend without Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua. Only the provocateur Bukele remains silent. Subscribe to our newsletter","mtag":"Newsletter","noun":{"html":"El Faro English","data":{"el-faro-english":{"sort":"","slug":"el-faro-english","path":"el_faro_english","name":"El Faro English","edge":"0","init":"0"}}},"view":"1381","pict":{"cms-image-000036924-jpg":{"feat":"0","sort":"36924","name":"cms-image-000036924.JPG","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000036924.JPG","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000036924.JPG","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000036924-jpg","text":"<p>\"Do not come,\" Vice President Kamala Harris told prospective Central American migrants contemplating traveling without papers to the United States. Harris traveled to Guatemala in June 2021 to discuss migration, foreign investment, and other bilateral priorities with the administration of Alejandro Giammattei. Photo: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a\/El Faro<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp\u003E\"Do not come,\" Vice President Kamala Harris told prospective Central American migrants contemplating traveling without papers to the United States. Harris traveled to Guatemala in June 2021 to discuss migration, foreign investment, and other bilateral priorities with the administration of Alejandro Giammattei. Photo: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a\/El Faro\u003C\/p\u003E"},"cms-image-000037212-jpg":{"feat":"0","sort":"37212","name":"cms-image-000037212.jpg","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000037212.jpg","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000037212.jpg","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000037212-jpg","text":"<p>U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris speaks with Honduran President Xiomara Castro during their bilateral meeting in the Presidential Palace in Tegucigalpa on Jan. 27, 2022. Photo: Erin Schaff\/POOL\/AFP<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp\u003EU.S. Vice President Kamala Harris speaks with Honduran President Xiomara Castro during their bilateral meeting in the Presidential Palace in Tegucigalpa on Jan. 27, 2022. Photo: Erin Schaff\/POOL\/AFP\u003C\/p\u003E"},"cms-image-000035224-jpg":{"feat":"1","sort":"35224","name":"cms-image-000035224.jpg","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000035224.jpg","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000035224.jpg","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000035224-jpg","text":"<p>Juan Sebasti\u00e1n Gonz\u00e1lez (right) is advisor to Biden for the Western Hemisphere on the U.S. National Security Council. Photo taken from the Twitter account of Juan S. Gonz\u00e1lez.<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp\u003EJuan Sebasti\u00e1n Gonz\u00e1lez (right) is advisor to Biden for the Western Hemisphere on the U.S. National Security Council. Photo taken from the Twitter account of Juan S. Gonz\u00e1lez.\u003C\/p\u003E"}},"pict_main__sort":35224,"date":{"live":"2022\/06\/01"},"data_post_dateLive_YY":"2022","data_post_dateLive_MM":"06","data_post_dateLive_DD":"01","text":"\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EOn inauguration day the Biden administration looked at Central America\u2019s troubled leadership and saw in Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei its best, if not only, chance for preserving influence in the north of the isthmus to curb political corruption. One year later Guatemala was the first Central American country to announce it will decline the U.S. invitation to the Summit of the Americas held from June 6 to 8 in Los Angeles.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003ETensions have been brewing for months. Last week the \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.washingtonexaminer.com\/restoring-america\/equality-not-elitism\/the-biden-administration-placates-latin-american-foes-while-pummeling-american-friends\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003EHeritage Foundation and Washington Examiner\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E published that Giammattei privately accused Ambassador William Popp in April of meeting with Indigenous leaders to \u201ctopple\u201d his government. Giammattei also told the authors that he has \u201cdecided to ask\u201d the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to leave the country for promoting \u201cindigenism,\u201d which to Giammattei, the authors interpret, is \u003Cstrong\u003Ea Guatemalan version of \u201ccritical race theory.\u201d\u003C\/strong\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EIt\u2019s true that the United States has insisted, as Kamala Harris did in her June 2021 trip, on voicing concerns over the marginalization of Indigenous peoples in Guatemala, some 45 percent of the population. But at the heart of the tensions is the U.S. criticism of Giammattei\u2019s decision to reappoint a key ally, Attorney General Consuelo Porras, on May 16 to a second term through 2026, despite sanctions for shielding the president from \u003Ca href=\"\/en\/202202\/centroamerica\/26008\/Witness-Accuses-Guatemalan-President-of-Funding-Campaign-with-Construction-Bribes.htm\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Ecriminal investigations into multimillion-dollar bribery schemes\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\t\t\u003Cfigure class=\"pict pict_land pict_move_posc 0 cs_img cs_img--curr rule--ss_c\" data-shot=\"pict\" data-hint=\"pict\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__pobj text-overflow\"\u003E\u003Cimg src=\"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/get_img?ImageWidth=2000&ImageHeight=1333&ImageId=36924\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"\"Do not come,\" Vice President Kamala Harris told prospective Central American migrants contemplating traveling without papers to the United States. Harris traveled to Guatemala in June 2021 to discuss migration, foreign investment, and other bilateral priorities with the administration of Alejandro Giammattei. Photo: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a\/El Faro\" \/\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__line block edge--ss_lax edge--ss_rax padd--ss_l0x padd--ss_r0x line--ss_s0b lineh rule--ss_c\"\u003E\u003Cspan class=\"block-inline full-width align-middle lineh__rect tint-back--nake\"\u003E\u003Cspan\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cfigcaption class=\"pict__text cs_img_caption folk_content typo_buttons line--ss_s0c line--ss_s0c--auto block full-width text-overflow rule--ss_l relative\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"__content block-inline full-width align-top tint-text--idle relative\"\u003E\"Do not come,\" Vice President Kamala Harris told prospective Central American migrants contemplating traveling without papers to the United States. Harris traveled to Guatemala in June 2021 to discuss migration, foreign investment, and other bilateral priorities with the administration of Alejandro Giammattei. Photo: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a\/El Faro\u003Cdiv class=\"photographer text_italic rule--ss_l tint-text--idle\"\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/figcaption\u003E\u003C\/figure\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EGiammattei called Porras\u2019 reelection an expression of \u201cnational sovereignty.\u201d Her bid received key support from CACIF, Guatemala\u2019s powerful business association, and from the Foundation against Terrorism, an advocacy group with deep ties to the military and a lead architect of legal attacks against independent prosecutors and judges.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe Biden administration, who calls corruption a critical national security issue, saw the selection of the new attorney general as a small window of opportunity in a backsliding democracy. A source close to the White House told El Faro English that they set as a \u003Cstrong\u003Ediplomatic objective the appointment of anyone but Porras\u003C\/strong\u003E. Thirteen embassies offered technical assistance to Congress in the nomination process, eliciting accusations from Giammattei of \u201cforeign interference.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe events caused rumblings in Washington. On Apr. 29 Senate Republicans Marco Rubio and Mike Lee requested a report from the State Dept. on \u201cinappropriate influence\u201d by the U.S. Embassy and USAID in the selection process, an example of Giammattei\u2019s successful lobbying to \u003Cstrong\u003Eportray U.S. anti-corruption activism as partisan meddling\u003C\/strong\u003E. The Heritage Foundation titled its analysis, \u201cThe Biden administration placates American foes while pummeling American friends.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EOn the night of Porras\u2019 reelection, the State Department revoked the visa of her husband, as the family member of an official \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.state.gov\/designation-of-attorney-general-maria-consuelo-porras-argueta-de-porres-for-involvement-in-significant-corruption-and-consideration-of-additional-designations\/\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Einvolved in \u201csignificant corruption.\u201d\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E Giammattei responded the next day by announcing that he will not attend the summit. \u201cThis country may be small, but as long as I\u2019m president, this country and its sovereignty will be respected,\u201d \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.dw.com\/es\/guatemala-alejandro-giammattei-no-asistir%C3%A1-a-cumbre-de-las-am%C3%A9ricas\/a-61832912\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Ehe said\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E in an event at the Mexican Embassy.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"font-size: medium;\"\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003EString of Absences\u003C\/strong\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EIt would be the second time that Guatemala does not attend a Biden diplomatic gathering. In the runup to the Democracy Summit in December, the U.S. cited concerns about democratic institutions in uninviting Giammattei, along with Nayib Bukele and Juan Orlando Hern\u00e1ndez, the last of whom is months later in an American jail. Daniel Ortega was never on the list, nor will he attend the summit in Los Angeles.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EBut the case that would most underscore a diplomatic \u003Cstrong\u003Efailure in the isthmus would be if Xiomara Castro stays home\u003C\/strong\u003E. Since becoming president of Honduras in January, she has shown her interest in a closer relationship with the United States, which has said it will support her new government in any way possible. Kamala Harris attended her inauguration and the two have \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.whitehouse.gov\/briefing-room\/statements-releases\/2022\/05\/27\/readout-of-vice-president-harriss-call-with-president-castro-of-honduras\/\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Eexchanged diplomatic phone calls\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E in recent months.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\t\t\u003Cfigure class=\"pict pict_land pict_move_posc 0 cs_img cs_img--curr rule--ss_c\" data-shot=\"pict\" data-hint=\"pict\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__pobj text-overflow\"\u003E\u003Cimg src=\"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/get_img?ImageWidth=2000&ImageHeight=1333&ImageId=37212\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris speaks with Honduran President Xiomara Castro during their bilateral meeting in the Presidential Palace in Tegucigalpa on Jan. 27, 2022. Photo: Erin Schaff\/POOL\/AFP\" \/\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__line block edge--ss_lax edge--ss_rax padd--ss_l0x padd--ss_r0x line--ss_s0b lineh rule--ss_c\"\u003E\u003Cspan class=\"block-inline full-width align-middle lineh__rect tint-back--nake\"\u003E\u003Cspan\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cfigcaption class=\"pict__text cs_img_caption folk_content typo_buttons line--ss_s0c line--ss_s0c--auto block full-width text-overflow rule--ss_l relative\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"__content block-inline full-width align-top tint-text--idle relative\"\u003EU.S. Vice President Kamala Harris speaks with Honduran President Xiomara Castro during their bilateral meeting in the Presidential Palace in Tegucigalpa on Jan. 27, 2022. Photo: Erin Schaff\/POOL\/AFP\u003Cdiv class=\"photographer text_italic rule--ss_l tint-text--idle\"\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/figcaption\u003E\u003C\/figure\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe mutual courtship has not yet convinced Castro to fly to Los Angeles. She joined Mexico and Bolivia in requesting that Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua be on the guest list. On a Wednesday press call, Biden national security advisor Juan Gonz\u00e1lez tried to minimize the issue, saying that they \u201chaven\u2019t been so focused on who is and isn\u2019t invited\u201d but rather on the outcomes of the reunion. He then recognized that the White House is still weighing \u2014five days before the summit\u2014 the three countries\u2019 attendance.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EIt\u2019s still unclear whether Nayib Bukele will be part of the summit \u2014possibly setting the stage for further confrontation\u2014 or look the other way altogether. He has only said, after meeting with Mexican President Andr\u00e9s Manuel L\u00f3pez Obrador in early May, that \u201cit\u2019s important to discuss hemispheric issues in a holistic way.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EHanging over the gathering is the State Department\u2019s promise to \u003Cstrong\u003Eexpand this month the \u2018Engel List\u2019 sanctions\u003C\/strong\u003E expected to touch Bukele\u2019s inner circle, as well as Guatemalan officials involved in the reelection of Consuelo Porras.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EBy all indicators Costa Rica will attend, but the U.S. Democrat administration has yet to forge its relationship with the new \u003Ca href=\"\/en\/202204\/centroamerica\/26114\/Costa-Rica-Chooses-Trump-Inspired-Outsider.htm\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Econservative outsider president\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E Rodrigo Chaves, who declared a national emergency in mid-May, a week after taking office, to fend off Russian hackers holding government servers for ransom.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThat leaves Panama as one of the few partners to the United States in the summit\u2019s long \u2014and expected to be largely empty\u2014 table. The central bilateral issues in the country are Chinese influence, drug trafficking, and global, not Central American, migration over the Darien Gap.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EIt\u2019s ironic that Biden\u2019s closest ally in Central America happens to be the farthest from the U.S. border. People in the region even joke that the country, two centuries ago part of Gran Colombia, is not really Central America.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThanks for your time. If you\u2019ve gained from our work, consider \u003Cstrong\u003Efunding independent journalism in Central America\u003C\/strong\u003E, in its most critical hour, at\u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/elfaro.us19.list-manage.com\/track\/click?u=a822abdb775cca5db840e11e5&id=9870abf84c&e=3e101df639\"\u003E \u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Esupport.elfaro.net\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E.\u003C\/p\u003E"}