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UNASUR Slams Cuba's Exclusion from Summit of the Americas

CUBA,  November 14, 2014. UNASUR Secretary General Ernesto Samper lashed out against the decision to exclude Cuba from the Summit of the Americas.

“To exclude Cuba from the Summit of the Americas is like holding a lunch and not inviting a member of the family,” Samper stated through his Twitter account.

Cuba was expelled from the Organization of American States (OAS), the organizing body of the Summit of the Americas, in 1962 and has not participated in OAS activities since.

The OAS operates by consensus and the re-admittance of Cuba has been blocked by the United States and Canada. The two countries have been accused of continuing to subscribe to a cold war mentality.

Latin America nations, on the other hand, have pushed strongly to readmit Cuba into the OAS and open the door to their participation in the Summit of the Americas. The next summit will be held in 2015 in Panama. The host country has indicated that it wishes to see Cuba participate and has extended an invitation to the Caribbean nation.

Both Ecuador and Nicaragua boycotted the last summit due to Cuba's exclusion. At a meeting of the foreign ministers of UNASUR in May, a declaration was issued calling on Cuba to be invited to the next summit.

The intransigence of the United States and Canada risks making the OAS irrelevant, in the last decade two new supranational organizations have emerged that exclude those two North American countries, UNASUR and CELAC.

Despite domestic opposition to Cuba's participation, the United States has not indicated yet whether it will oppose its presence at the 2015 summit.

The United States has also found itself increasingly isolated with respect to its foreign policy toward Cuba. The U.N. General Assembly voted overwhelmingly yet again to condemn the U.S. blockade of Cuba in October.