June 19, 2013
'Another summit without Cuba is unacceptable'
As the sixth Summit of the Americas began in Cartagena, Colombian President assured that Cuba's absence in another regional summit would be unacceptable. Leaders from 33 nations at the Organization of American states take part.Hot topics include controversies over Cuba and the Malvinas, trade tensions and a new look at the war on drugs.
“Isolationism and indifference have already proved their ineffectiveness. Such an anachronism has no place today’s world. Just like the next summit with a frustrated Haiti would be unacceptable, the same would happen with an absent Cuba, Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos said during his opening speech.
Santos urged fellow presidents and Heads of State not to be stubborn before the evident changes underway in Cuba and urged the Communist country takes part of the next regional summit. “We cannot be indifferent to changes in Cuba, which is remarkable, and that change must continue. It is time to get over the paralysis led by stubbornness, for the wellbeing of Cuban people,” he added.
The two-day-long event began today with a CEO meeting for businessmen led by host Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos and his Brazilian counterpart, Dilma Rousseff, and US president Barack Obama.
The three heads of state gave statements touching upon current issues that affect North and South America, highlighting the topic of drug trafficking, poverty and employment rates.
Thereafter the 32 leaders and representative for Venezuela's Hugo Chávez, who was not present at the summit, participated in the inauguration ceremony which included traditional Colombian dancing and an opening performance by singer Shakira, who sang the Colombian national hymn.
Security was high-profile as 20,000 soldiers and police officers were deployed to guard the presidents at the summit. Marxist FARC rebels, who are driven back but still active, plotted to assassinate former US leaders George W. Bush and Bill Clinton on previous visits to Cartagena.