President Joe Biden was greeted at Los Angeles International Airport Wednesday by Gov. Gavin Newsom and Mayor Eric Garcetti ahead of the weeklong Summit of the Americas.
The meeting of International leaders began Monday in downtown Los Angeles at the Convention Center. Biden arrived at LAX late Tuesday morning ahead of wide-ranging discussions — including COVID, climate and other topics — among leaders from Western Hemisphere nations. A senior administration official said the summit will focus on “sustaining economic prosperity, climate change, the migration crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic.''
Events will formally begin Wednesday morning. Biden and first lady Jill Biden, who arrived in Los Angeles Tuesday to deliver the LA City College commencement address, hosted the summit's inaugural ceremony Wednesday afternoon.
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Vice President Kamala Harris also spoke Wednesday at the event.
The Los Angeles gathering for the Summit of the Americas is the first time a U.S. city has hosted the event since 1994, when the inaugural conference was in Miami. The summit convenes once every three or four years.
The summit is organized by the White House and the U.S. Department of State.
Biden also will make an appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live'' in Hollywood.
What will President Biden announce at the Summit of the Americas?
Biden is expected to formally announce the “Americas Partnership'' during the summit, a five-pronged effort to bolster regional economies by building on free-trade agreements and addressing "inequality and lack of economic opportunity and equity,'' according to the administration official.
Also during the summit, Biden will announce more than $300 million in regional assistance to combat food insecurity, along with health initiatives aimed at preparing for future pandemics and a partnership with the Caribbean community to address climate issues. On Friday, the final day of the summit, Biden and other leaders are expected to sign the ``Los Angeles Declaration on Migration,'' which the administration official described as a pact to pursue a “comprehensive'' approach to addressing the crisis.
The official noted that Mexico is among the nations expected to sign the declaration, despite the news this week that Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador will not be attending the gathering. He pulled out of the event in response to the Biden administration's decision declining to invite Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela to the conference. Mexico, however, will still be represented at the event.
The exclusion of the three nations has led to questions about the legitimacy of the event overall, and increased the presence of critics. Opponents of the gathering's tenor are planning a meeting of their own, dubbed the People's Summit for Democracy, which will be at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College.
Among those set to speak at the event are Melina Abdullah of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, political activist/philosopher Cornel West, Puerto Rican independence fighter Oscar López Rivera, Honduran Indigenous leader Bertha Zúniga and Indian historian Vijay Prashad.