ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer has confirmed that Antigua & Barbuda was among countries “insisting” that Cuba be included in the next Summit of the Americas.
Cuba was kicked out of the Organisation of American States (OAS) a few years after Fidel Castro’s 1959 revolution and has been kept out of its summits since, due mainly to opposition from the US.
Spencer told OBSERVER Media, following his Colombia trip, “The future of the summit will definitely be in jeopardy if Cuba is not admitted as a member.
“We are insisting that going forward Cuba will have to be recognised at the level of the Summit of the Americas,” the Antigua & Barbuda leader said.
Caribbean and Latin American leaders have been increasingly militant in opposing both Cuba’s exclusion and the 50-year-old US trade embargo on the Spanish-speaking island.
Spencer said when he met with US authorities the blockade on Cuba was also discussed.
“We always take the opportunity to raise the issue of Cuba and the question of the lifting of the embargo,” he said.
Due to the hostile US line on Cuba, the heads of state failed to produce a final declaration as the summit.
But apart from the vexing issue of Cuba’s isolation, Spencer said he also discussed security, investments and human resource development with US President Barack Obama.
In terms of investments Spencer said, “They (the US) have come up with a programme as it relates to the development of small enterprises in the region.
“We discussed the question of what can they do in terms of assisting us with our human capital,” the Antigua & Barbuda leader said.
Caribbean leaders also met with Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.