Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa wants Cuba to be invited to the April Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, and he wants like-minded nations to join him in boycotting the event if Havana is not invited.
This forces the United States to play the heavy and say no, Cuba should not be invited, because the “summit process is open only to democratic countries.”
That stand on principle would have some resonance with the public if the “summit process” had any meaning to anyone, i.e. if the meeting were any more than a series of conversations among heads of state where no negotiations are held or agreements reached. President Obama doesn’t mind talking to governments with which he disagrees, but in this case election-year considerations may override that principle. Can’t have a handshake photo with Raul.
Colombia, the host, has to figure a way to smooth things over. Colombia’s foreign minister traveled to Havana last week to discuss the issue and reported afterward that Cuban officials “told me, obviously, that they’re interested in attending.”
Cuban media reported on the foreign minister’s visit, noting her meeting with President Raul Castro, saying her visit would give a boost to the two countries’ “satisfactory” bilateral relations and noting Colombia’s opposition to the U.S. embargo. The summit issue was not covered.
A roundup of all this by Kezia McKeague of the Council of the Americas is here.