Tag Archives: Summit of the Americas

ALBA Countries Threaten to Boycott Future Hemispheric Summits

The the Summit fo the Americas concluded today, the countries of the Alternativa para las Américas (ALBA) declared that they would not participate in future summits if Cuba was not invited. In a declaration they condemned the ‘unjustifiable and unsustainable exlcusion of Cuba.’ Before the start of the summit, there was some talk of an ALBA boycott, but finally only Ecuador decided to make good its promise and actually refused to attend. The promise that ALBA members will not participate in the future is just a first step; if they really want to have an impact they will have to follow through with actions. The United States is still the dominant power in the hemisphere, and it will take collective action to change its long entrenched attitude toward Cuba.

In other news, the pierogi continues to be excellent.


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Obama in Cartagena: No to Legalisation of Drugs

Addressing the possible legalisation of drugs at the Summit of the Americas today, American President Barack Obama has dashed the hopes of several Latin American presidents by declaring that the United States is firmly against moves to legalise drugs in the hemisphere. In a debate with Colombian President Juan Santos and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Obama commented that, ‘I think it is entirely legitimate to have a conversation about whether the laws in place are doing more harm than good in certain places,’ although he continued by adding, ‘I personally, and my administration’s position is, that legalization is not the answer.’

This is a blow for leaders such as Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina, who has called for a drastic change in Latin America’s thinking on the drugs problem. At the summit he asked for a ‘serious dialogue in which we scientifically analyse what is happening with the war on drugs.’ Even Santos is considering the option of partial legalisation. Despite the fact that Obama claims that he is open to debate, it is clear that the US wants to maintain the status quo, and has even impeded srerious debate on the issue.

I am currently away in Poland at the moment so my posts during the next few days will be on the briefer side while I enjot copious amounts of pierogi.

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Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa Will Not Attend the Summit of the Americas

Source: Associated Press

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa has announced today in a letter that he will not be participating the the Summit of the Americas, which is due to take place on 14th and 15th April in Colombia, because Cuba has not been invited. Correa commented that, ‘they talk about a lack of concensus, but we all know that it is about the veto of hegemonic powers, which is an intolerable situation in 21st century Latin America.’ Despite many promises and a good amount of posturing over the decades, he is the first head of state to make good on a promise not to attend an international summit in the Americas to which Cuba has not been invited.

The the Organization of American States (OAS) has had an active role in preventing Cuba from attending international summits in the Americas for some time now. The OAS says that it cannot invite Cuba because it does not meet OAS requirements for democratic governance. Those requirements, however, were initiated in 2001 specifically to exclude Cuba from inter-American decision making. Under huge US pressure the OAS expelled Cuba in 1962 for sponsoring military activity in other Latin American nations, and since then the US has consistently blocked proposals for Cuba’s reentry. That in the 21st century, Cuba can still be isolated in the hemisphere is a disgrace that all Latin American governments should be held accountable for.

For the first time a Latin American president has stood up and refused to attend a summit because of the absence of Cuba. Not only is that a reflection of the growing confidence of Latin American countries, but also an indication that US influence in the region is waning. Unfourtunately, Correa’s call  on the other key members of the ALBA grouping to do the same fell on deaf ears. Bolivia, Venezuela and Nicaragua have all confirmed that their presidents will be attending the summit. So much for the Bolivarian dream.

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