Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez officially confirmed his attendance at the Summit of the Americas Tuesday and encouraged other left-leaning leaders to attend as well.
Chavez’s statement came a day after U.S. president Barack Obama announced he would be present at the event, which will take place in Colombia’s Caribbean coastal city of Cartagena from April 9 to 15.
Having confirmed his attendance, Chavez urged his fellow Bolivarian Alliance for the People of Latin America (ALBA) collegues to follow suit, after the group had previously threatened to boycott the event if Cuba was not invited. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos confirmed earlier this month that Cuba would not be attending, after talks between the two countries failed to reach agreement.
Chavez declared that ALBA countries would “ensure that this is the last Summit of the Americas without Cuba,” as he demanded a cessation to the U.S. economic blockade of the island, imposed since 1960.
Other high profile ALBA leaders, including Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa and Bolivian President Evo Morales, have not yet committed to the summit.