Page 3 of 3
But then again, few – not even Spaniards – have high hopes of a breakthrough during the summit. The gathering is “symbolic,” said Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa on arriving.
“That’s one of the things us country leaders have to think about, that our people get tired of us attending so many summits, while they are facing so many abysses.”
Cuba’s Raul Castro and Mr. Chávez declined the invitation, as they have for years, in Chávez’s case since his faceoff with the king. Argentina, Uruguay, and Guatemala excused themselves for health reasons, although relations with Buenos Aires have been frosty ever since Argentina's expropriation of the majority stake in its biggest oil producer, YPF, owned by Spain’s Repsol.
Paraguay was politely asked not to come after South American countries, including Brazil, had threaten to boycott the summit otherwise. Most Latin American countries do not recognize Paraguay’s ruling regime after a dubious impeachment in the country that forced the former elected leader to resign.