US President Joe Biden urged leaders of the Americas to prove to their people the dividends of democracy as he opened a summit bringing most of the hemisphere’s leaders to Los Angeles.
“When democracy is under assault around the world, let us unite again and renew our conviction that democracy is not only the defining feature,” Biden said, “but the essential ingredient to the Americas’ future.”
“At this summit, we have an opportunity for us to come together around some bold ideas, ambitious actions, and to demonstrate to our people the incredible power of democracy,” Biden said.
Biden welcomed regional leaders to a theater in the downtown of the entertainment capital, with a choreographed dance routine produced by Emilio Estefan, before two days of meetings that will focus on migration, climate change and food insecurity.
Biden acknowledged differences in the region, with Mexico’s president declining an invitation over the US refusal to invite the leaders of Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela on the grounds that they are not democratic.
“Our region is large and diverse. We don’t always agree on everything,” Biden said.
But as democracies, he said, the countries can work through disagreements “with mutual respect and dialogue.”