Another Summit of the Americas is coming up, reviving the debate about Cuba’s absence from this meeting. This two-decade-long discussion might be resolved in the upcoming meeting in Cartagena, Colombia.
The issue of excluding Cuba has been coming up since the first summit of this kind in 1994. According to the rules, the summit is for democratic governments members of the Organization of American States (OAS). Cuba was expelled from the OAS in 1962. Although this decision was reversed in 2009, the island’s government said it was not interested in joining the OAS.
Cuba would be able to attend the mid-April meeting if there were a consensus to invite them, but the United States refused, pointing out that Cuba is not part of the regional organization.
Therefore, Cuba was not invited. However, this issue-as is fitting-will be in the agenda of several participating countries.
We think it is important to have a continental forum that groups all of the region’s countries, including Cuba. It is not necessary for Cuba to belong to the OAS for this organization to operate, but excluding a country from the summit in this day and age is detrimental.
This attitude, for example, justifies the emergence of ALBA as a reaction to the OAS’s intransigence on the issue of Cuba. Having countries with common interests create blocs is normal, but it does not replace the current political diversity the OAS includes.
We hope the members of ALBA-Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Dominica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Antigua and Barbuda, in addition to Cuba-participate in the Cartagena summit. President Correa of Ecuador brought into question the participation of ALBA’s members if Cuba is excluded. We think the best way to help Cuba is by participating in the summit and in the debate about this issue.
It is unfortunate that the matter of Cuba is still like a wall separating the U.S. from the rest of the hemisphere. This Washington policy is a relic of the Cold War, like the government of the Castro brothers. In the long run, it affects the U.S.
This does not defend the Cuban dictatorship. However, it is an argument in favor of the pragmatism necessary to improve our country’s relationships with Latin America.