Monday, April 6, 2009


Why can't Cuba and its representatives attend the Summit of America, a gathering of countries from Latin America and North America in Trinidad-Tobago beginning on April 17? Who made the decision not to invite Cuba?

The BBC reports that Fidel Castro asked the leaders of Latin and South America to bring up the subject of the U.S. embargo of Cuba. Writes the BBC:

"Fidel Castro has called on Latin American countries to support an end to Cuba's isolation when they meet the US president at a regional summit.

"Cuba is not invited to attend the Summit of the Americas, which opens in Trinidad and Tobago on 17 April.

"In a newspaper editorial, the former president said that the summit would be a "trial by fire" for the region.

"He urged leaders to ensure that both Cuba's isolation and the US trade embargo against it were on the agenda."

Has Obama forgot so soon his promise to talk with countries where there are philosophical and political differences? We know the Republicans would like nothing better than to bomb Cuba to the stone age, given their premise not to negotiate with "enemies." But I don't see how Obama could have approved excluding Cuba and its president Raul Castro.

Almost all the Latin countries support an end to the cruel and pointless U.S. embargo. The real victims of the U.S. action are the people of Cuba who are deprived of ordinary necessities of life. Raul and Fidel Castro are no worse as leaders than Mubarak of Egypt or King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, two "allies" of the U.S. Instead of continuing the embargo, we need to see Obama adopt a more realistic, less cruel, policy of treating Cuba and its people with respect.

Reports the BBC:

"Almost all the countries in Latin America and the Caribbean now support an end to the embargo and want Cuba re-admitted to the organisation of American states, says the BBC's Michael Voss, in Havana.

"Mr Castro said that he had seen a draft text of the final statement which the US wants to be signed at the summit. It contained "a great number of inadmissible concepts", he wrote, and did not acknowledge the calls for better Cuba-US ties.

""Who is now demanding our exclusion? Perhaps they don't understand that times of exclusionary agreements against our people have been left far behind," he wrote.

"US President Barack Obama has taken a less confrontational approach to the communist nation than his predecessor, George W Bush, our correspondent adds.
But his administration continues to insist that there must be progress towards democracy and on human rights before the trade embargo can be lifted."

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