Chavez: “[The summit] should not be seen as a one-and-done event. It should be just seen as a starting point for action.”

Joe Biden Lisa Ferdinando

Ahead of the summit, officials declined to provide specifics but said Biden would advance initiatives to address climate change, food insecurity, and a collaborative approach to a regionwide migration crisis that has sent millions of people spilling out of Haiti, Venezuela and other countries.

Rebecca Bill Chavez, a former Pentagon official who serves as head of the Inter-American Dialogue, said the administration must sustain high-level engagement on the region.

“This should not be seen as a one-and-done event,” she said. “It should be just seen as a starting point for action.”


Hanging over the summit are larger questions about the place that Latin America should occupy in the constellation of foreign policy challenges the Biden administration — and any administration — must confront, including China’s economic and military rise, an unpredictable and antagonistic Russia, the global implications of climate change and many other issues.

Chavez said the United States must embrace a policy of persistent high-level engagement.

“I understand that Latin America cannot be our top priority,” she said. “But it needs to be on the list.”


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