Cuba to scupper final summit statement

2012-04-15 22:13

Cartagena - Leaders attending the Americas summit here on Sunday will not issue a final statement because of disagreement over whether Cuba should be included in future summits, a Brazilian diplomat said.

"It is what happened at the previous summit in Trinidad in 2009. There will be a final statement signed only by the president of Colombia [the host country]," said the diplomat who spoke on condition of anonymity.

US President Barack Obama was under intense Latin American pressure at the summit in this northern Colombian city to let Cuba attend future hemispheric meetings.

Washington opposes Cuban participation on grounds that the communist regime in Havana lacks democratic credentials.

On Saturday, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, Washington's closest ally in Latin America, said it would be "unacceptable" to keep Cuba out of the next gathering.

Cuba has never taken part in a Summit of the Americas, a regular meeting sponsored by the US-based Organisation of American States (OAS).

But despite the intense pressure, Obama backed by Canada refused to yield.

Obama, who is campaigning for re-election in the November election, cannot afford to give ammunition to his domestic right-wing opponents who reject any concessions to a communist regime seen as violating the democratic and human rights of its people.

Read more on:    barack obama  |  cuba  |  colombia

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