OAS votes to readmit Cuba after 47 years
By NESTOR IKEDA – 54 minutes ago
SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras (AP) — The Organization of American States voted by acclamation on Wednesday to revoke the 1962 measure suspending communist Cuba, overturning a landmark of the Cold War in the hemisphere.
"The Cold War has ended this day in San Pedro Sula," said Honduran President Manuel Zelaya immediately following the announcement. "We begin a new era of fraternity and tolerance."
The action doesn't mean Cuba will return to the 34-member body that helps coordinate policies and mediates disputes throughout the Americas.
Cuban officials have repeatedly insisted they have no interest in returning to an organization they consider a tool of the United States.
And if Cuba changes its mind, the agreement calls for "a process of dialogue" in line with OAS "practices, proposals and principles" — a veiled allusion to agreements on human rights and democracy.
"The historic action taken today eliminates a distraction from the past and allows us to focus on the realities of today," State Department Deputy Spokesman Robert Wood said in Washington.
He said it would let officials "continue with the president's efforts to support the desire of the Cuban people to freely determine Cuba's future consistent with our core principles and those of the Americas."
Wood also portrayed the resolution's reference to OAS principles as a victory for U.S. diplomacy, noting that most countries had favored automatically readmitting Cuba.
"The United States worked tirelessly," he said, to ensure "that the return of Cuba to participation in the OAS will be done consistent with the principles and purposes of the democracy and human rights."
Only hours earlier, State Department spokesman told reporters than failure to reach an agreement was "a clear sign of how the president's approach to relations in the Americas is paying dividends."
Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro wrote in state newspapers on Wednesday that OAS should not exist and historically has "opened the doors to the Trojan horse" — the U.S. — to wreak havoc in Latin America.