Obama Takes Heat on Cuba at Summit of the Americas

Via Reuters:  Latin America rebels against Obama over Cuba

For the first time, conservative-led U.S. allies like Mexico and Colombia are throwing their weight behind the traditional demand of leftist governments that Cuba be invited to the next Summit of the Americas.

Cuba was kicked out of the Organization of American States (OAS) a few years after Fidel Castro’s 1959 revolution and has been kept out of its summits due mainly to U.S. opposition.

But Latin American leaders are increasingly militant in opposing both Cuba’s exclusion and the 50-year-old U.S. trade embargo on the Caribbean island.

"The isolation, the embargo, the indifference, looking the other way, have been ineffective," Santos said. "I hope Cuba is at the next summit in three years."

Santos, a major U.S. ally in the region who has relied on Washington for financial and military help to fight guerrillas and drug traffickers, has become vocal about Cuba’s inclusion even though he also advocates for democratic reform by Havana.

The opposition exists because, quite frankly, US policy on Cuba makes no sense.

And lest anyone wonder, Santos is from the center-right and he is simply being pragmatic and reasonable on this subject.

Alas, rational pragmatism from Washington on Cuba is not likely to arrive any time soon.

FILED UNDER: Latin America, Quick Takes, US Politics, World Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Tillman says:

    The opposition exists because, quite frankly, US policy on Cuba makes no sense.

    The embargo as it stands now strikes me as a result more of institutional inertia than anything else. You’d think, though, that opening trade with another country would be a good idea, what with our economic woes and all.

  2. Dazedandconfused says:

    A small but dedicated group that could swing Florida has the entire US by the nose on this issue.

    Electoral college…Does it do anything for us?

  3. michael reynolds says:

    Yep, Dazed has it right: it’s Florida.

  4. Ron Beasley says:

    @Dazedandconfused: The Miami Cubans for the most part represent the plutocrats that led to the the revolution in the first place. In today’s terminology they were the ,1 percent. They are not unlike AIPAC in that they force the US to make decisions that are not in the best interests of the US or the Cuban people.

  5. Brummagem Joe says:

    US presidents always take heat over Cuba at these South American gatherings. Our policy towards to Cuba makes no sense whatever but like a lot of our other policies is hostage to US domestic politics.

  6. Franklin says:

    Heh, maybe another 50 years will finally crack ’em?

  7. anjin-san says:

    “The isolation, the embargo, the indifference, looking the other way, have been ineffective,” Santos said. “I hope Cuba is at the next summit in three years.”

    I have to agree. I hope Obama changes course on this – our policy is badly outdated & simply makes no sense.

  8. Dazedandconfused says:

    I don’t think Castro will live another 50 years. May we have a politician brave enough to ‘seize the moment’ of his of his passing and use it effectively at that time.

  9. @Dazedandconfused: Once both Castros have passed on, there will likely be an opening.

  10. Dazedandconfused says:

    Probably right about that. Damn shame.