Friday, October 17, 2014

Candidate to lead OAS says Cuba shouldn't be excluded from regional summit

Candidate to lead OAS says Cuba shouldn't be excluded from regional summit
Published October 16, 2014 EFE

Guatemala's Eduardo Stein, one of the candidates seeking to become head
of the Organization of American States, said here Thursday that it would
be regrettable if the presence of Cuba at the 2015 Americas Summit
prompted other countries to boycott the event.

Whether to invite Cuba "is no longer a question," as the Panamanian
government has already taken steps toward issuing an invitation, the
former Guatemalan vice president said during the latest in a series of
forums at Washington's Woodrow Wilson Center featuring candidates for
the OAS post.

"It would be very regrettable if, in this edition of the summit, if the
Cuban government decides to accept the invitation and participate, other
governments decide not to be there," Stein said in response to a question.

"That would shatter the principle of inclusion that all of us are
seeking as well as the possibility of understanding each other," he said.

Panama has publicly signaled that it wants to see Cuba attend the April
gathering, but the formal invitations will not go out until late December.

While the United States government has yet to say whether it would
boycott the summit if Cuba were there, Washington maintains that the
Cuban government should be excluded because Havana is not committed to
democratic principles.

Stein pointed to the Guatemalan government's decision in the 1980s to
enter talks with guerrillas as an example of the value of adversaries
sitting down "at the same table."

Those negotiations led in 1996 to an accord that put an end to 36 years
of civil war in the Central American nation.

By cautiously reaching out to Cuba, Stein said, the Panamanian
government has shown that it takes "very seriously" the idea of striving
for full inclusion as the path toward achieving goals including
protections for human rights, Stein said.

The Cuba question loomed large during the 2012 Americas Summit in
Cartagena, Colombia, where Havana's allies in the ALBA group -
Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and Nicaragua - vowed to boycott any future
summits that excluded the Communist-ruled island.

Colombia made an effort to have Cuba included in the 2012 gathering, but
the attempt fell short.

Cuba was suspended from the OAS in 1962 and while the group revoked that
measure in 2009, Havana has made no moves to rejoin and says it has no
plans to do so.


Source: Candidate to lead OAS says Cuba shouldn't be excluded from
regional summit | Fox News Latino -

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