Cuba rebukes Obama over summit talk of democracy
The Associated Press
HAVANA -- The Cuban government criticized U.S. President Barack Obama on
Wednesday for calling for democratic change in Cuba during last
weekend's Summit of the Americas, where Havana's exclusion was a major
In a strongly worded statement published in Communist Party newspaper
Granma, President Raul Castro's government described demands by other
regional leaders from across the political spectrum that Cuba be
included next time as a "rebellion" against Washington.
"President Obama should realize that the Cartagena summit was not
propitious for advising democracy in Cuba," the communique said. "We
Cubans will take care of Cuba."
The United States and Canada were alone in opposing Cuban participation
in the Summit of the Americas. They rejected other nations' proposal
that Havana be invited next time, and the gathering in Colombia
concluded without a final joint declaration.
Washington argues that Cuba must enact democratic reforms before it is
allowed to attend the regional meetings. In Cartagena on Sunday, Obama
suggested that could happen in the future.
"There may be an opportunity in the coming years as Cuba begins to look
at where it needs to go in order to give its people the kind of
prosperity and opportunity that it needs, that it starts loosening up
some constraints within that country, and that's something that we will
welcome," he said.
The statement in Granma said the summit made it clear that Washington
"has not changed its policy toward Latin America and the Caribbean," and
called on other nations to maintain unity in the face of "attempts to
divide and derail us."