Official Says Cuba’s Return to OAS is up to its Government


It is still unclear whether Cuba will rejoin the Organisation of American States (OAS), despite passage of a resolution on Wednesday removing a 47-year ban during the OAS 39th General Assembly in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.
OAS Assistant Secretary General, Ambassador Albert Ramdin, has said that while the organisation has removed the obstacles to Cuba’s return, it is up to Cuba’s socialist administration to decide if it will.
Ambassador Ramdin was speaking at a press briefing on Friday (June 5) at the Hilton Kingston Hotel, New Kingston.
He explained that the participation of Cuba in the OAS would be the result of a process of dialogue initiated at the request of the Cuban Government, and in accordance with the practices, purposes and principles of the OAS.
He added that for many years other countries have presented arguments on behalf of Cuba, and it was now time for Cuba’s “voice to be heard.” He said the resolution also paved the way for the OAS to visit Cuba and, possibly, establish an office there in the future.
“I think that this is going to take time. We should not rush it. It should be done in a solid way, because any progress which is forced is going to be counterproductive and (will) fail in the end,” Ambassador Ramdin declared.
Former Cuban Ambassador to Suriname, Osvaldo Cardenas, stated that re-entry to the OAS is a very “emotional” issue for Cuba. According to him, Cuban leaders, for the most part, still think of the OAS in the same light they did over 40 years ago.
He said he believes the participation of Cuba in the OAS will be linked to improvements in the relationship between Cuba and the United States.
“Definitely, in the next five years, the relationship between the United States and Cuba will change and then changes will take place in Cuba,” he predicted.
The resolution removing barriers to Cuba’s participation in the OAS was passed by consensus, even though U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, lobbied personally for requiring Cuba to make democratic reforms and improve respect for human rights before the lifting of the ban.
During the press briefing, members of the media were updated on the proceedings of the 39th General Assembly of the OAS, which ended on Wednesday in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.
Membership in the OAS gives a country a voice in hemispheric agreements on major issues. The 34-member body helps co-ordinate policies and mediates disputes throughout the Americas.
Ambassador Ramdin, a native of Suriname, is being backed by CARICOM for re-election as OAS Assistant Secretary General in June 2010.

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