US Rallies Around Consensus that Cuba Should Be Welcomed Back to OAS

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cuban face.jpg
I have been watching parts of this online feed of a historic meeting today of the Organization of American States.
A final, persistent chunk of the Cold War is in the process of quickly thawing and breaking up in these very minutes. I just heard the Chilean representative issue “particular thanks to the delegation of the United States for rallying around this consensus [on Cuba].”
Wow. And then this bit just appeared in the Miami Herald:

Cuba’s 47-year suspension from the Organization of American States will be lifted, thanks to an agreement reached Wednesday by foreign ministers assembled in Honduras, Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Francisco Falcone told reporters.
The United States had been pressuring the OAS for weeks to condition Cuba’s readmission to the hemispheric group on democratic principles and commitment to human rights. Falcone said there will be no such conditions.
”This is a new proposal, it has no conditions — of any kind,” Falcone said. “That suspension was made in the Cold War, in the language of the Cold War. What we have done here is fix a historic error.”

This is significant. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton looked uncomfortable during the proceedings as she apparently wanted conditions attached to any petition for Cuba to rejoin the OAS but failed. But this may have been just an act.
Behind the scenes, this initiative had help from Clinton’s team and would not have moved forward if the United States didn’t give a strong positive nod in acknowledging and acquiescing to the expectations of other Latin American states on this Cuba question.
This is excellent news and demonstrates Obama’s willingness to replace inertia and incrementalism with some serious strategic shifts.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

10 comments on “US Rallies Around Consensus that Cuba Should Be Welcomed Back to OAS

  1. David says:

    I forgot to mention that I find that picture irresistible.

    Reply

  2. David says:

    Cuba can decide to rejoin or not rejoin. The point is that the US joined with other members of the OAS in lifting the ban and opening the door so that Cuba has a choice in the matter. It is a step forward, and in the words of that cliche, a journey starts with…

    Reply

  3. Don Bacon says:

    Cuba will not rejoin the Organization of American States, even though the multinational organization has lifted the 47-year-old suspension of the country’s membership, a Cuban official said Thursday.

    Reply

  4. John Sang says:

    How enlightened! I really feel for the people of Cuba, I hope this opens up their world.

    Reply

  5. Mr.Murder says:

    A landmark whose approach is long overdue. This is very important to help fast track the new model in this hemisphere.

    Reply

  6. Steve Clemons says:

    thanks for note margaret — the conditions are non-conditions.
    the oas establishes what the norms consistent with membership
    are — and they have decided should Cuba want to join back to let
    Cuba join back. The conditionality that Hillary Clinton originally
    insisted on was skewered…so the conditionality we are seeing
    bubble to the service is optical and non-substantive.
    all best — wish we had more cuba policy readers here — as I think
    that this is enormously interesting.
    steve

    Reply

  7. margaret says:

    The New York Times reported today that there were, in fact, conditions. Check this out.

    Reply

  8. joe marti says:

    reform the oas….
    http://www.granma.cu/espanol/2009/junio/mier3/elcaballo.html
    Rafael Correa, presidente de Ecuador, de visita en Honduras, en vísperas de la reunión de la OEA, declaró: “Yo creo que la OEA perdió su razón de ser, tal vez nunca tuvo razón de ser.” La noticia transmitida por ANSA, añade que Correa, “vaticinó ‘la muerte’ de esa organización por los muchos errores cometidos”.
    Afirmó “que los países del continente americano, por condiciones geográficas, no pueden ser metidos ‘todos en la misma canasta’, y por eso Ecuador propuso hace varios meses la creación de la Organización de Estados Latinoamericanos.
    “‘No es posible que los problemas de la región se discutan en Washington, construyamos algo propio, sin países ajenos a nuestra cultura, a nuestros valores, incluyendo obviamente a países que inexplicablemente fueron separados del sistema interamericano, y me refiero al caso concreto de Cuba… fue una real vergüenza y muestra la doble moral que existe en las relaciones internacionales’”. A su llegada a Honduras, tanto el presidente Zelaya como él, declararon que “la OEA debe ser reformada y reincorporar a Cuba de lo contrario tendrá que desaparecer”.

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  9. Jay C says:

    Not being familiar with OAS rules (or, to be honest, what is is that they do), I have a question: if a measure (like readmitting) Cuba comes before the OAS, and the US really really really doesn’t like it; do we have any leverage to kill the proposal? Or does it just pass 27-1 or whatever?
    I mean, it doesn’t sound like Secy. Clinton was trying awfully hard to block Cuban readmittance; but really, do we still have a great deal of pull with the OAS?

    Reply

  10. Zathras says:

    As I understand it, Cuba has often rejected the idea of joining the OAS in the past. If the Castro government decided to change its position, it would have to sign the OAS charter to secure admission.
    I hope and expect that the Obama administration will leave the entire burden of taking these steps on the Cuban government, whether or not its supporters start demanding additional American “strategic shifts.”

    Reply

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