Five Things That Went Under-Reported at the Summit of the Americas

1. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper Meets with Cuban President Raul Castro – Canadian Media Not Advised

Cuban President Raul Castro and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper held a bilateral meeting, however Canadian media reported that they were only informed of the meeting after the fact and only because the Canadian head of government made a passing reference to a meeting between the two leaders. A photo of the meeting was not released by the prime minister's office, nor were any statements released, suggesting that the prime minister was seeking to deliberately downplay the meeting.

Canada and Cuba have a long-standing political and economic relationship, although Canada supported past efforts by the United States to exclude Cuba from summits.

2. U.S. Refuses to Repeal Sanctions against Venezuela, Despite Pleas from Regional Leaders

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson told CNN that her country will not repeal the executive order signed by President Barack Obama that declared Venezuela a national security threat.

Latin American leaders have been unanimous in their condemnation of Obama's executive order, with many touching the topic during their interventions at the Summit of the Americas. Obama and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who brought the signatures of over 11 million Venezuelans opposed to the decree, held a formal meeting which was described as “cordial” by Maduro. However, no announcement regarding the executive order was made after their meeting.

3. Summit Fails to Issue Final Declaration Due to U.S. Opposition

The Summit of the Americas once again failed to issue a final declaration, as is common during summits that gather heads of state and government.

Bolivian President Evo Morales blamed the United States government for the lack of a final declaration, as did Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman. Both the U.S. and Canada opposed clauses in the draft document that made references to the strengthening of collective rights, as well as those that called on states to have greater obligations. This is the third summit in a row that failed to issue a final declaration.

4. To Avoid Embarrassment, Obama Skips Critical Speeches by Presidents

Anticipating a barrage of criticism, U.S. President Barack Obama walked out of the room where the region's leaders were giving remarks. Argentine President Cristina Fernandez criticized the U.S. leader for issuing unilateral sanctions against Venezuela, calling them “ridiculous.”

It was later reported that Obama left the plenary in order to hold a bilateral meeting with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, despite the fact that protocol establishes that bilateral meetings be held once the heads of state and government have all spoken.

5. Seemingly Irritated Obama Remarks about ‘History Lessons’ at Summits

With many regional leaders using their time to remark on the history of U.S. interference in the internal affairs in nearly all of the countries of the hemisphere, the U.S. president made a tongue-in-cheek comment about the “history lessons” he always receives in these summits.

Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa criticized Obama's position, saying that U.S. interference was not a thing of the past. “Unfortunately, the executive order against Venezuela, or the request for funds from the Senate to interfere in Ecuador and other countries, are not things from the past, they are things from the present,” said Correa.

U.S.- Summit of the Americas: Time of the Vultures?

Just after the end of that meeting, several possible republican presidential candidates attack the encounter Raul-Obama.

An article from EFE issued in Washington expressed this Sunday that he was harshly criticized while “many considered it historical.”

Written by Raquel Godos, the information quotes, among other things the statements of the Texas senator, Ted Cruz.

The latter said in an official statement that Obama’s approach grants the Castro brothers legitimacy in the international scene.

There is the expression of someone as ignorant as ill-intentioned, because Cuba is one of the countries with more legitimacy credentials in that regard.

Some hard facts prove it.

Will Texan Cruz know that since 1992 most of the nearly 190 countries that comprise the U.N. General Assembly every year has demanded the end of the North American blockade to the island?

Does he know that 33 nations of this region chose Havana to preside over (pro-tempore) the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC)?

And that the island was appointed a few months ago to head the sessions of the Sixty-seven World Health Assembly (WHO) in Geneva?


Has Mr. Cruz learned that Cuba has been chosen and reelected to be part of the United Nations Human Rights Council?  

Furthermore, does it ring a bell, that after confronting another extreme rightwing plot to avoid its presence in Summits of the Americas, now was invited to the Seventh?

Ted Cruz, as the article from EFE reminded is a man “next” to the Neo-Nazi sect Tea Party.

Then, with incredible bluntness, the senator admitted that Obama’s performance toward Cuba “abandons the pro-North American opposition.”

“This president, highlighted the news agency, demonstrates to be willing to do what nine prior presidents from both parties had not done: to give refuge to a communist dictator in our own hemisphere.”

On the other hand, former Florida governor Jeb Bush, close to sell his candidacy, made evident his rejection to the Raul-Obama dialogue, and called the first one a “cruel dictator.”

With a single fact, among so many, is enough to know who Jeb is, like the British journalist, Greg Palast narrates to the detail in his book “The Best Democracy Money Can Buy.”

Considered a best seller by The New York Times, it sheds light on the huge fraud in Florida during the 2000 elections to guarantee George W. Bush's victory as president.

Back then the governor of that state was, in fact, the republican presidential candidate's brother.

Now, Florida senator, Marco Rubio, close to make public similar electoral purpose, catalogued as “ridiculous” the possible de-listing of Cuba from the list of countries that sponsor terrorism.

This character drags a background that includes financial scandals back when he was a member of parliament in that state, even an accusation of the Washington Post to have lied with electoral intentions on the origin of his parents.

In the last months he has outstood for spreading a ferocious opposition to the opening of embassies in Washington, and Havana.

Bob Menendez, extreme rightwing democratic senator for New Jersey also joined that tendency.

The latter devised a harsh attack to the encounter held by the leaders of Cuba and the United States during the VII Summit.

Bob anticipated at Fox News Sunday program that his president makes a calculation mistake when estimating that “if it stretches the hand to dictators, these they will loosen the fist.”

When did the senator speak to Fox Television? In moments that he confronts serious accusations of the Justice Department for his steady corrupt performance.

The serious accusations are big enough that some observers foresee the beginning of the end of his political career.

According to the same analysis of EFE, the political turn of Obama towards the island has a great support among citizenship and a two-party majority in the Congress.


Then, what outcome could take away from the vultures who in Washington oppose the bilateral approach?

Due to his great lack of reputation, to keep wading against a process that points to be really thorny, and piece by piece possible.

Alicia Barcena Seeks to Promote Public Education at Panama Summit

The secretary general of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Alicia Barcena, said in a statement to ACN that she has come to the Forum of Rectors of the 7th Summit of the Americas to promote the idea of public education, free and of quality for the inhabitants of the region.

  • Published in Cuba

Silvio Rodríguez to Sing in Panama Parallel to Summit of the Americas

The Cuban singer and songwriter Silvio Rodríguez will offer a concert in Panama running parallel to the Summit of the Americas informed this Wednesday organizers of an encounter of social movements.

«Silvio Rodríguez’s concert is confirmed for the evening of April 9», said to AFP Olmedo Beluche, one of the organizers of the so called Summit of the Peoples.

The author of Ojala, Sueño con serpientes, Monólogo or Te doy una canción will perform for free for the public at the University of Panama.

The concert of Rodríguez, 68 years old, will take place on the first day of this alternative appointment to the Summit of the Americas that will gather at the Panamanian capital more than 3 000 members of social movements from all over the continent.

«Silvio’s songs have expressed for 40 years the struggle for the independence of Latin America, the solidarity and social justice», said Beluche.

Rodríguez will arrive in Panama with the Cuban delegation that will participate in this alternative meeting. The goal of the members is to demand the President of the United States, Barack Obama, to rescind the decree that qualifies Venezuela a «threat» to the national security of that country.

The Summit of the People is scheduled 9-11 of April, while the Summit of The Americas that gathers the heads of State and Government of the entire continent, will take place from April 10 to 11 of the same month.

  • Published in Culture

Poll Reveals 78% of U.S. Residents Don't Consider Cuba a Threat

 The Reuters/ Ipsos survey also showed that U.S. residents consider President Obama to be a bigger threat than Cuban Leader Raul Castro. A Reuters/Ipsos released Monday showed that 3 out of every 4 residents in the United States did not consider the Caribbean Island of Cuba to be a threat to U.S. national security.

Only 21.8 percent of respondents saw Cuba as a threat, while a greater percentage of U.S. residents view their own president as a bigger threat to the United States than Cuban President Raul Castro.

An online poll this month asked 2,809 Americans to rate how much of a threat a list of countries, organizations and individuals posed to the United States on a scale of 1 to 5, with one being no threat and 5 being an imminent threat.

The poll showed that only 20.6 percent of respondents viewed Raul Castro as a “serious” or “imminent” threat, while at the same time 28.9 viewed Barack Obama a “serious” or “imminent” threat.

Cuba's close ally, Venezuela, which was recently declared by Obama to be an “extraordinary and usual threat” to the United States, was not included in the poll. Relations between the U.S. and Cuba took a historic turn on Dec. 17, when the U.S.

President admitted that his country’s 50 year policy to topple Cuba’s government had failed and that the two countries would begin negotiations to normalize relations.

Raul Castro and Barack Obama are due to meet next week in Panama at the 7th Summit of the Americas. This will be the first time Cuba will participate at the gathering of regional leaders.

The poll marks a notable change in attitude amongst the U.S. population toward Cuba, which has been villified in the United States since the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959, which broke the decades of tutelage from Washington that the island operated under.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll also revealed that respondents were most concerned about threats related to potential terror attacks. Islamic State militants were rated an imminent threat by 58 percent of respondents, and al Qaeda by 43 percent.

The Ipsos survey, conducted between Mar. 16-24, included 1,083 Democrats and 1,059 Republicans. The data was weighted to reflect the U.S. population and has a credibility interval, a measure of accuracy, of plus or minus 2.1 percentage points for all adults.

  • Published in Cuba
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