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U.S. official: Biden mulls Cuba invitation for Americas summit

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Mexican President Andr?s Manuel L?pez Obrador is decorated by his Cuban counterpart Miguel Diaz Canel with the Jose Marti order at Revolution Palace in Havana, Cuba, Sunday, May 8, 2022.
Mexican President Andr?s Manuel L?pez Obrador is decorated by his Cuban counterpart Miguel Diaz Canel with the Jose Marti order at Revolution Palace in Havana, Cuba, Sunday, May 8, 2022. (Yamil Lage/Pool Photo via AP) Photo Gallery

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is considering inviting a Cuban representative to the Summit of the Americas, a U.S. official said Friday, as his administration tries to salvage an event that risks collapsing over disagreements about the guest list.

It’s unclear if Cuba would accept the invitation, the U.S. official said, which would be extended to someone in the foreign ministry to join as an observer — but not the foreign minister himself, and not as a full participant.

The U.S. official declined to be identified while speaking about sensitive deliberations. A spokesperson for the National Security Council did not respond to a request for comment about whether Cuba would be invited.

The Summit of the Americas involves countries across the Americas, stretching from Canada to Chile. It is scheduled to begin in a little more than two weeks in Los Angeles, in the United States for the first time since the inaugural event in Miami in 1994.

But the planning has been marred by confusion, with key leaders like Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador threatening to skip because Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua weren’t expected to be invited.

Chris Dodd, a former U.S. senator from Connecticut chosen by Biden as a special adviser for the summit, spent two hours on Zoom with López Obrador this week.

Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser, told reporters aboard Air Force One on Friday the administration is having “candid and constructive conversations,” but declined to say more.

López Obrador said Friday that the summit was still being analyzed and that “we want everyone to be invited.”

“We have a very good relationship with President Biden,” he said, adding that “we have been in talks.”

Associated Press writer María Verza contributed from Mexico City.

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