Notable absences among the leaders at the Ibero-American Summit in Cartagena promise to make bigger headlines than the theme - Youth, Enterprise and Education. Themes are chosen to circumvent ideological confrontation, but the tactic doesn't always work.
The new president of Brazil, Michel Temer, could face a grilling from leftist leaders about his country's impeachment in August of President Dilma Rousseff. She describes her ouster as a coup. Rousseff was one of a block of six leftist leaders who snubbed the summit for ideological reasons in 2014, the last time the now-biannual event was held. As reported in Americas Quarterly, Bolivian President Evo Morales dismissed the 2014 event, which also brings the leaders of Portugal and Spain to the Americas, as a platform for "Spain's monarchs [to discuss] their own interests." The other four countries whose leaders stayed away were Argentina, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba.
Indifference might add to any absences in Cartagena. Americas Quarterly notes that the summit is losing out to newer forums, such as CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) and UNASUR (Union of South American Nations. The change from annual to biannual summits from 2014 is generally attributed to the flagging interest.
Date written/update: 2016-09-01