The Amazon Summit, a meeting of eight South-American countries, concluded without any significant deals or declarations. While the summit aimed to establish a common front among these nations, it primarily provided an opportunity for Brazil’s former President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, to showcase himself and distract from domestic issues.
One of the notable aspects of the summit was the absence of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. This absence dealt a blow to Lula’s diplomatic efforts. According to a report by O Globo, the Brazilian government was not officially informed about Maduro’s decision to not participate in the event. They only learned about it when the door of the Venezuelan presidential plane opened, and Vice President Delcy Rodríguez emerged. There was no official communication from the Venezuelan Miraflores Palace to notify the Brazilian government about Maduro’s absence, suggesting that it was a last-minute change.
However, O Globo noted that few believed the justification provided by Maduro on social media for his absence, which cited an ear infection and a medical recommendation against traveling. Local journalists and analysts mocked Maduro, suggesting that “otitis” (ear infection) was being used as an excuse for fear.
One possible reason for Maduro’s absence, according to the report, is that he may not have had any new information or decisions to present to the Brazilian government regarding the questionable 2024 Venezuelan presidential elections. Therefore, he may have chosen not to travel.
Interestingly, there is an unresolved issue that has not been adequately addressed – an open warrant for the arrest of Maduro issued by the US Department of Justice in 2020. This raises questions about whether Maduro’s decision to skip the summit was influenced by the potential risk of arrest. In May, when Maduro visited Brazil, opposition parliamentarians attempted to alert Interpol and have him arrested, resulting in a diplomatic incident.
These Congressmen from the opposition sought to ensure that Maduro would leave Brazil as a prisoner to be extradited to the United States. According to their letters to the US embassy, Maduro is wanted by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for crimes such as drug trafficking, international terrorism, and corruption. The Brazilian Congress also communicated with Interpol regarding Maduro’s status, seeking information about the existence of an arrest warrant and the measures taken or to be taken for his immediate arrest.
Members of Maduro’s entourage reportedly advised him to return to Venezuela on Tuesday night, and his return was initially scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.
In summary, the Amazon Summit concluded without any significant outcomes, serving more as a platform for Lula’s grandstanding. Maduro’s absence raised questions, with suspicions that it may be related to the US DOJ’s warrant for his arrest. The event highlighted the ongoing tensions and diplomatic maneuvers between South-American countries in the region.