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.