June 10, 2009

Cuba, Across Political Divide, Shrugs at OAS Vote

Cuba has no plans to rejoin the Organization of American States, despite the diplomatic body’s vote in June to allow Cuba back into the fold after 47 years.

Cuba rejected on Monday the OAS offer to rejoin in a statement published in its state-run newspaper, calling the organization one “with a role and trajectory that Cuba repudiates,” the Miami Herald reported.

Instead, the island nation is pushing a plan to establish a new inter-American and Caribbean organization that would exclude the United States, according to a report by Inter Press Service. Plans for the organization will be discussed at a regional summit in Mexico later this year.

The first meeting, staged in Brazil in December 2008, was the first time a Latin/Caribbean regional summit was held without the United States, but included Cuba, according to a Tribune Media Services report.

Not unexpectedly, Cuban-American politicians in the U.S. are calling the OAS vote “a putrid embarrassment,” the New York Daily News reports.

Historically, South Florida’s Cuban population has staunchly opposed any move to lessen sanctions against Cuba.

An editorial in South Florida’s Sun-Sentinel lambasted the OAS for “aiming the spotlight on the wrong cause once again.”

However, OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza told a Chilean radio station that he hopes the decision will nudge the United States along the path of ending its embargo.

The OAS vote to readmit Cuba is a big change from the Cold War-era decision in 1962 to isolate the communist nation at the behest of the United States.

Although the OAS later refused to support other U.S. interventions — such as such as the invasion of Panama in 1989, the 1980s war in Nicaragua, and the overthrow of Salvador Allende in Chile in 1973 — the original Cuba vote inspired a grudge by Latin American leftists against the OAS that persists to this day.

Today, those political divisions leave the United States as the only nation in the hemisphere that does not have diplomatic relations with Cuba.

El Salvador, the last holdout, renewed ties with Cuba hours after leftist Mauricio Funes was sworn in as president at the beginning of June, reports Agence France-Presse.

–Ronnie Lovler/Newsdesk.org

Sources:

“Latin America: Cuba wants integration without OAS”
Inter Press Service, June 4, 2009

“Brazil stretching clout to Central America”
Tribune Media Services, June 8, 2009

“Bush Excluded by Latin Summit as China, Russia Bloom”
Bloomberg, Dec. 15, 2008

“El Salvador and Cuba re-establish diplomatic ties”
Agence France-Presse, June 1, 2009

“Organization of American States opens door to Cuba and a wave of criticism”
New York Daily News, June 7, 2009

“Irrelevant OAS misses big opportunity”
Sun-Sentinel.com, June 6, 2009

“Insulza espera que la decision de la OEA ayude a levantar el embargo sobre Cuba”
Infolatam.com, June 4, 2009

“Cuba rejects rejoining OAS”
Miami Herald, June 9, 2009

Organization of American States

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