Cuba, USA: OAS Says “Yes”

After 47 years, the Organization of American States has lifted its ban on Cuba's admission to the group, with most member states restoring ties with the island nation. The United States, which still maintains a trade embargo against Cuba, was the notable exception, as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham-Clinton advocated for democratic and human rights reforms in Cuba as pre-requisites to the island's readmission. But the opinions of other hemispheric leaders, some of which were previewed at the recent 5th Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago, won out. Cuba is free to be part of the OAS – despite its leadership's statements suggesting that it has no interest in returning. A few bloggers are making their feelings known…

Circles Robinson, writing for Havana Times, says:

Hillary Clinton left San Pedro de Sula, Honduras for Egypt on Tuesday wondering whether her lobbying effort on behalf of the Obama administration to keep Cuba suspended from the Organization of American States (OAS) would work. It didn’t.

The message from Honduras was that there is no reason to keep Cuba out, leaving it up to the government of Raul Castro to decide when and whether the island chooses to resume active membership.

In a related matter, El Salvador restored diplomatic relations with the Cuba on Monday, leaving the US as the only country in the Western Hemisphere without normal ties with the Caribbean island.

The Cuban Triangle quotes the full text of the adopted OAS resolution, while Along the Malecon gives a comprehensive overview of the positions of different member states. Quoting Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, who commented, “The Cold War has ended this day in San Pedro Sula. We begin a new era of fraternity and tolerance”, the blogger quips:

If there is a new era of brotherhood, I'm not so sure it's reached every corner of Washington – or South Florida.

As if to confirm his suspicions, diaspora blogger Uncommon Sense has the last word:

The OAS readmits Cuba…and yet all those Cubans whose names are on the right sidebar of this blog remain in prison.

As a region, Latin America has made tremendous strides towards democracy over the past couple of years. Only one country – Cuba, which for much of its Castro-era history has tried to undermine its neighbors – is ruled by an unelected dictatorship, when that sort of tyranny used to be more of the norm in the hemisphere.

But with its decision Wednesday to readmit Cuba, the Organization of American States betrayed those in their respective countries who sacrificed so much to accomplish that progress towards democracy.

There's a lot of change, some of it maybe warranted, in how the world, including the United States, is dealing with Cuba. But until there is change in Cuba, and by Cuba, it all rings quite hollow and smells quite awful.

The OAS’ open door may still prove to be a moot point: it all depends on whether or not Cuba chooses to walk through it.

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