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