Sunday, April 15, 2012

Americas Summit Ends Without Final Declaration

A lack of consensus over several divisive issue has led to the absence of a final declaration at the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia.

The thirty-one heads of government who attended the conference “dialogued sincerely” and in a “frank manner,” said Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos. “The lack of a final document does not mean that the summit was a failure,” said Santos at a press conference this afternoon.

One of the most disputed topics at the conference was the involvement of Cuba at future summits. “Most of the states back the inclusion of Cuba and hope that this can become a reality,” said Santos today. Meanwhile the ALBA bloc said that they will “not participate in any future Summits of the Americas without the participation of Cuba.” (The presidents of Ecuador and Nicaragua boycotted this year's summit due to the exclusion of Cuba).

Another sticking point was the debate over the sovereignty of the Falklands Islands, which are controlled by Britain but claimed by Argentina. Argentine president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner left the summit on Sunday morning reportedly due to her disappointment over the Falklands and Cuba issues.

Bolivian president Evo Morales also left the conference this morning before it’s closure though not before strongly criticizing the U.S. as a “dictatorship against South America and the Caribbean.” Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro, who represented his country in lieu of ailing President Hugo Chavez, declared that the conference’s “epitaph” would be the “obsolete policy” by the U.S. to exclude Cuba.

The lack of a final declaration appeared to be predicted on Friday before the arrival of the heads of government. A meeting of foreign ministers supposedly ended with the U.S. and Canada siding against the rest of the region over the Falklands and Cuba issues.

It’s worth noting that the last three Summits of the Americas including this weekend’s meeting in Cartagena ended without a final declaration.

Video Source – YouTube via casarosada (Video from the Argentine government showing the official picture of the heads of government at the sixth edition of the Summit of the Americas).

Online Sources – RCN Radio, El Nuevo Herald, El Espectador, El Tiempo

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