Brazil Wants Cuba in the OAS But Fidel Castro Wants None of It

Fidel Castro Ahead of the Summit of the Americas set to begin on Friday in Trinidad and Tobago, several Latin American countries have said Cuba should be reinstated in the organization, which promotes regional cooperation and democracy.

Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim, for example, told reporters in Rio de Janeiro on Monday that Cuba's absence from the OAS "is an anomaly that needs to be corrected."

But OAS José Miguel Insulza told Brazilian newspaper O Globo that Cuba must show its commitment to democracy to be readmitted.

"We need to know if Cuba is interested in returning to multilateral organizations or if it is thinking only about the end of the embargo and economic growth," he told the newspaper, referring to the US trade embargo imposed on Cuba since 1962.

Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro said on Tuesday Cuba had no desire to rejoin the "infamous" and "vile" decadent Organization of American States, and said the coming Summit of the Americas next week end in Trinidad Tobago will be "a test of intelligence and shame."

The ailing Castro, 82, has not been seen in public since July 2006 and ceded power to his brother, President Raul Castro, last year. Nevertheless he maintains a powerful voice through columns published in state-run Internet sites and newspapers.

Castro, in his third column on the summit, published on Tuesday, said the OAS "has a history that collects all the trash of 60 years of betrayal of the people of Latin America." He added OAS had been involved in "aggressive actions" that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.

However he admitted that "the focus will now be in the Summit of the Americas. It will be a privilege to know what is said at the meeting: it'll be a test of intelligence and shame. We won't be on our knees to beg OAS to let us into infamy."

Cuba was suspended from the 35-member OAS in 1962 because the communist system imposed by Castro after he took power in a 1959 revolution was judged to be "incompatible" with the organization's principles. Castro has criticized the group for years, calling it the "Ministry of Colonies" of the United States.

In his latest Cuba debate he quotes OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza who argues that the return of Cuba to the organization not only depends on what happens at the Summit "but mainly to the OAS General Assembly."

"He (Insulza) is well aware we don't even want to hear about the infamous name of that organization," which has never rendered services to the Latin American peoples. On the contrary "it's the incarnation of treason" and its name only generates "repugnance" in Cuba, said the ailing leader.

Furthermore "it offends us to believe that we are interested in joining OAS. The train of history has long gone by and Insulza hasn't realized yet. At some moment many countries will apologize for having belonged to that organization."

In an earlier column on Tuesday he had addressed Monday's decision by US President Barack Obama to let Cuban-Americans travel freely to Cuba and send as much money as they want to relatives there. He described the initiative as "positive but minimal."

However Mr. Castro's strong attack on the OAS does not necessarily reflect current Cuban policy since Brazilian diplomats have revealed that the President Raul Castro administration is not intent in turning the Trinidad Tobago summit into an embarrassment for US President Obama and would prefer a toning down of the debate.

Mercopress

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