Jill Biden hosts a fraught diplomatic summit

As the summit kicked off Wednesday night in Los Angeles, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and the leaders of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala did not attend, in protest of President Joe Biden’s decision not to include Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua in the conference. conversations. The destabilizing nature of contempt from many of the United States’ allies has caused more trouble for the administration, obscuring the larger objective of the summit, which the United States has not hosted since its inception in 1994.

However, for the first lady, the show must go on.

Despite the swirl of debate over whether the boycotted summit constitutes bankruptcy before it even begins, Jill Biden will host at least two singles events for the dozen or so pairs of the 23 heads of state attending the three-day meeting — even leaders of half Western ball. A White House official said events had been in the works over the past few weeks, in coordination with the East Wing.

Biden’s pair’s show will showcase the cultural elements of Los Angeles, and in the process, the first lady will continue a theme she started on her diplomatic visits last month to Ecuador, Panama and Costa Rica: It’s better to be on the right side of the United States than the wrong side.

In San Jose, Costa Rica, before returning to Washington, and after meetings with that country’s president, Biden felt confident that her time as an envoy — in a region of the world rife with political strife and economic uncertainty — served its purpose. .

“All the countries I’ve visited have said it will be [at the Summit of the Americas. I’m looking forward to it,” she said at the time.

Biden’s confidence, even as calls for boycotts of the summit grew louder, came on the heels of her remarks in each country’s capital city centered on the benefits of a healthy partnership with the US. Unlike Vice President Kamala Harris’ message of “do not come [to the United States],” which she relayed candidly during her visits to Mexico and Guatemala last June, Biden’s tone was akin to ‘stay where you are and reap the benefits of the American relationship.’ And at each stop, Biden backed her message with announcements of funding or assistance, and pledges of support from America.

“On your own, you can do so much,” Biden said during a speech attended by President Guillermo Laso at the presidential palace. Lasso and his wife will be at the top.

“The first lady will be hosting a program for couples attending the summit to meet as a group and get to know each other,” Biden’s press secretary, Michael Larosa, told CNN.

On Thursday, Biden is doing her own diplomatic job, hosting a brunch, which Larosa notes will be “near the ocean.” It is common for the host country’s first lady or wife/wife at world summits to organize, plan and execute a number of events to keep the other halves of world leaders occupied, while their spouses articulate complex issues that will emerge in doubt. This private pool.

That evening, Biden joined the president at the Getty Villa, a museum overlooking the Pacific Ocean, for a welcome party and dinner for the leaders and their spouses.

On Friday, Biden’s main event — a lunch at the Disney Concert Hall — will take place with entertainment featuring the Los Angeles Youth Orchestra and a performance by Torres-Martinez Cahuilla Bird Singers, a Native American-inspired group that tells indigenous stories via rhythmic songs and rattles. gourd;

Lunch will be prepared by 10 Los Angeles-area chefs and restaurateurs, and is part of “Re: Her,” a national non-profit platform created to help women food and drink entrepreneurs. The first lady will make remarks to the couples assembled over the luncheon, focusing, according to Larosa, on “the interconnectedness of our world, especially the Americas.”

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