The United States will not invite representatives of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro or Nicaragua at the Summit of the Americas next month in Los Angeles, an official said on Thursday.
“Absolutely not. We don't recognise them as a sovereign government,” Kevin O'Reilly, the coordinator of the summit, told a Senate committee when asked about the participation of Maduro's government.
The United States considers Maduro illegitimate and recognises opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president.
On participation at the summit of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, who has been accused of increasing authoritarianism, O'Reilly also gave a definitive “no.”
He gave a less clear answer when asked if Cuban government representatives would attend, saying that the White House was in charge but no invitation has been sent “to my knowledge.”
President Joe Biden wants the Summit of the Americas to showcase democracy in Latin America and to step up cooperation on migration, a key political priority for the United States.
But a number of nations led by Mexico have threatened to boycott or downgrade participation if the United States does not invite all nations in the hemisphere.
O'Reilly said the administration was “constantly in dialogue” with Mexico.
“We're certainly having discussions with the government of Mexico and all the governments in the region about the structuring and organisation,” he said.
The Biden administration has also said it plans to invite civil society groups from across Latin America.