Cuban president says he won't go to U.S. summit even if invited

·1 min read

By Nelson Acosta

HAVANA, May 26 (Reuters) - Cuba's President Miguel Diaz-Canel said he would not attend the upcoming Summit of the Americas hosted by the United States, which has said that only democratic governments would be invited.

"I can assure you under no circumstances will I attend the Summit of the Americas," Diaz-Canel said in a meeting with his government ministers Wednesday broadcast on state television.

On Thursday, the U.S. government's coordinator of the summit said in a U.S. senate hearing that it would be up to the White House to decide on whether to invite Cuba to the summit, scheduled for June 6-10 in Los Angeles.

The official, Kevin O'Reilly, said Cuban civil society activists had been invited.

On Twitter, Diaz-Canel said the United States' "intention was to exclude several countries, Cuba among them."

Earlier this month, the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden accused the Cuban government of using its exclusion from the summit to distract from Cuba's human rights record at home.

Diaz-Canel's announcement follows recent declarations from Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega and Guatemala's President Alejandro Giammattei that they would not attend the summit. Neither had been invited.

On Thursday, the Biden administration confirmed it had not invited the governments of Venezuela or Nicaragua. Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and Bolivia's President Luis Arce previously said they would not attend unless all countries in the Americas were invited.

Reuters reported on Wednesday that 13 of the 14 member nations of the Caribbean Community regional group, of which Cuba is not a member, planned on attending the summit. (Reporting by Nelson Acosta; Writing and additional reporting by Brendan O'Boyle; Editing by Richard Chang)