Future America summits face boycott
News from Cuba | Sunday, 15 April 2012
Latin American countries have declared that they will boycott future hemispheric summits if Cuba not invited to attend. Calls to end the isolation of Cuba became a focus for the sixth Summit of the Americas organised by the 34-nation Organisation of American States (OAS) in April.
Cuba was banned from the OAS shortly after the revolution in 1962 because its government was deemed "incompatible" with the Inter-American system. Although the ban was lifted at the last Summit in 2009, there has been no discussion on Cuba’s reintegration into the organisation.
Latin American allies’ last-minute attempts to have Cuba invited to the sixth conference in Cartagena failed due to resistance from the US and Canada. President Rafael Correa boycotted the summit over Cuba's absence.
A statement by the ALBA bloc of countries condemned the "unjustified and unsustainable exclusion of Cuba".
"We have decided not to take part in future Summits of the Americas if Cuba is not present," the ALBA statement concluded. The foreign ministers of Venezuela, Argentina and Uruguay also said their presidents wouldn't sign the Summit’s final declaration unless the US and Canada removed their veto of future Cuban participation.
"This is the last Summit of the Americas," Bolivia's foreign minister, David Choquehuanca, told the Associated Press, "unless Cuba is allowed to take part."
Discussions also took part on drug legalisation and Argentina's claim to the British-controlled Malvina Islands. Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro criticised the position of Canada and the US and the lack of democracy within the OAS, since 32 of 34 countries agree on the issue of Cuba and the Falklands.