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Summit of the Americas in Cartagena


John Dolva
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America consists of many nations, the United States and Cuba included. The United States seeks yet again to impose its agenda...

http://www.granma.cu/ingles/

SUMMIT OF THE AMERICAS

The exclusion of Cuba by the United States government is unacceptable and unjustified

• Press conference held by Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, March 8, 2012, "Year 54 of the Revolution"

(Typographical version: Council of State)

Gustavo Machín (Moderator) - Good morning to all those present.

Minister of Foreign Relations Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla will give a statement to the press; I will therefore cede the floor to him.

Bruno Rodríguez - Good morning.

Congratulations to all of the women journalists who are present today. It is a pleasure to be here with you. I apologize for giving you such short notice, but surely you were following the news yesterday and understand that we are getting together as soon as possible, as soon as developments allowed this interchange.

As you know, yesterday we had the pleasure of receiving in our country President Santos of Colombia, accompanied by his Foreign Minister. The President told us, in a very respectful and cordial manner, that consensus within the hemisphere has not been reached in order to invite Cuba to the 6th Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, which will take place next month.

He has explained that Colombia wishes this situation to be discussed during the Cartagena Summit. He expressed his respect for the position of the countries which consider Cuba’s participation in these summits a necessity. He pointed out that this is an issue which has remained unresolved for many years and said that he sincerely hopes this uncomfortable situation is not repeated.

I would like to express our gratitude for the efforts of Colombia, a country for which Cuba always desires the best.

There have been no surprises; it has been "the chronicle of an exclusion foretold."

Completely disrespecting Colombia, Latin America and the Caribbean, U.S. spokespersons have, from day one, decreed Cuba’s exclusion.

Vice President Biden, Secretary of State Clinton, a sub-secretary and other State Department representatives expressed their veto even before the announced consultation could take place.

With this disrespect and arrogance, the United States is offending the dignity of Bolívar’s Patria Grande and Our America as identified by Martí.

I forcefully denounce the exclusion of Cuba by the government of the United States as unacceptable and unjustified. It is part and parcel of a policy of economic, political and media blockade which is genocidal, illegal and in violation of the human rights of Cubans, as made clear in that infamous memorandum issued by Mr. Mallory in April, 1960, and intended to cause hunger, desperation and undermine the people’s support of our government.

The blockade is a crime, and an error, which has already lasted for more than 50 years.

Esteemed colleagues,

Cuba never asked to be invited to any of the so-called Summits of the Americas; it has never done so in the past and is not doing so now. We limited ourselves to responding that, if invited on the basis of equality, with full and equal rights, we would act according to our principles and the truth, with all due respect, as we always do.

The position taken by countries within the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) is unanimous and firm in its demand that the blockade of Cuba end, and that the exclusion of Cuba from any hemispheric body, such as this so-called Summit of the Americas, end. The alliance is solid and unanimous in demanding unequivocally that this exclusion must end and that the issue be seriously addressed during the 6th Summit in Cartagena. It is also unanimous in its position publicly announced during the February 15 meeting of its Political Council and at the meeting of ALBA Foreign Ministers, to await the outcome of consultations underway at that time, which we heard about yesterday.

As President Chávez announced in a valiant statement of solidarity yesterday, it is the responsibility of the ALBA Political Council, as charged by the Summit of ALBA Heads of State, foreign ministers will continue analyzing the situation, coordinating their actions and reinitiating consultation within the alliance and with other Latin American and Caribbean governments, without exception.

Cuba’s position is that expressed by President Raúl Castro Ruz February 4, in Caracas, during the Summit of ALBA Presidents. He said there that Cuba would never have demanded it, but supports the proposal made by President Correa, Evo and other Presidents, to take action to end the exclusion of Cuba, a position we consider completely just.

He said, "I want to thank you, President Correa, Evo and others, for these proposals… of vital importance. You are absolutely right. We would never have requested that such a measure be adopted, but are not going to forego supporting this one, which we consider completely just."

These summits, as is known, began in Miami, in 1994. They were the platform for the development of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), the United States’ plan to economically annex Latin America.

In 2005, in Mar del Plata, Presidents Chávez and Néstor Kirchner, with the support of others and all of Our America, buried the FTAA.

In April 2009, in Port of Spain, President Obama promised a new policy toward Latin America and the Caribbean. As for Cuba, he expressed his desire to take a new direction in relations between the United States and Cuba. What will President Obama say in this next meeting in Cartagena?

These summits, like the sadly infamous Organization of American States (OAS), only serve to allow the United States to exercise its dominance. The most recent events demonstrate this.

Additionally worth pointing out is that there has been talk of the possibility of a private meeting during the Cartegena Summit of Heads of State, to address the issue behind closed doors.

I must say that this is not in the interest of Cuba. It is not acceptable to Cuba that this issue be discussed without its presence, in a private meeting between the government of the United States and Latin America and the Caribbean.

Latin America no longer accepts this and is constructing a project based on sovereignty and regional integration, which the United States cannot stop, although it will try to do so. The presence of Cuba in Cartagena from a distance will be unmistakable, as it was in 2009.

Martí, referring to the Pan American Conference in Washington which concluded in 1980, precisely during these April days, on April 19, has already written, "… after seeing with judicious eyes the antecedents, causes and factors involved in the meeting, one must say, because it is the truth, that for Hispanic America the time has come to declare its second independence."

If this exclusion serves to deepen the consciousness of Latin American and Caribbean peoples as to the need for firm, concerted action by Our America, to advance with more resolve toward our complete and definitive independence, it is welcome.

During these days, we Cubans will be here, confident and serene; as a symbol we will be commemorating the victory of Girón [bay of Pigs] which - we don’t know why - the U.S. President’s advisors have decided to make coincide, once again, with the Incomplete Summit of the Americas.

Thank you very much.

Moderator – The Minister has agreed to answer some questions about the issue which he has addressed. I would ask those who have questions to use the microphones to the sides and identify the communications media they represent.

Andrea Rodríguez (AP) – Good morning, Minister.

Bruno Rodríguez - Good morning, Andrea. Congratulations!

Andrea Rodríguez – Thank you.

Sir, there has been talk of consensus and that consensus was not achieved so that Cuba could be invited, but it is true that it also appears that there is no consensus among ALBA countries. That is, do you believe that the case of Cuba, and this special situation which has emerged in Cartagena, has broken down consensus within ALBA, leaving President Correa in an isolated position?

At what point, then, are the ALBA countries in terms of Cartagena? Thank you.

Bruno Rodríguez – I have not spoken about consensus, I have quoted the President of Colombia explaining his position as regards the issue. I have said, however, that ALBA has a solid, unitary position calling for an immediate end to the blockade of Cuba, which is fundamental, and in the demand for an immediate end to the exclusion of Cuba from these entities, called hemispheric, such as the Summit of the Americas, and that ALBA has a firm, unanimous position of concerted action and, as it stated - the February 15 statement by the Foreign Ministers’ Meeting is public – that it would reinitiate the coordination of its actions and contacts once the results of that consultation, which was underway, were known.

The position of President Correa is totally supported by all of the ALBA Presidents, by all of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America, in demanding an end to this unacceptable exclusion and, most importantly, in demanding that the political, economic, media blockade of Cuba be ended now, immediately and unconditionally. The ALBA Foreign Ministers will continue to develop positions in regards to the way in which these issues are addressed during the 6th Summit in Cartegena.

Rosa Tania Valdés (REUTERS) – Good morning.

Minister, what we would like to know is, at the beginning when all the condemnation by ALBA related to Cuba’s participation began, some countries said that they were even willing to forego attending, in the event that Cuba was excluded, as has finally occurred.

What I would like to know is if Cuba will ask ALBA countries to take a position in relation to this. Will the ALBA countries go to the Summit or not?

Bruno Rodríguez – This issue is not new, nor is it a new position of the ALBA countries. You can find it in the Declaration made by the ALBA Presidents’ Summit which took place in Cumaná, in April of 2009, right before the 5th Summit which took place in Port of Spain. ALBA’s position at that time is exactly the same, it is solid, it is firm; it has been consistent over time.

As President Raúl Castro Ruz said on February 4, Cuba would never have demanded a measure of this nature, but supports it firmly, because it considers President Correa’s forceful demand to put an end to this situation, as just and legitimate

Néstor Pardiño - How can this new phenomenon be interpreted, a group of Latin American countries confronting the United States over the issue of Cuba? What comments can you make in regards to this?

Bruno Rodríguez - Cuba expressed itself back in 2009. Fidel asked - as early as the 1990’s, with all the announcements made with great fanfare from the 1994 Summit in Miami - what purpose these summits might serve. Cuba was already excluded. He said at the time, if these summits provide an opportunity to discuss the real problems of Latin America and the Caribbean, the problems of peace, the problems of development, the problems of debt, the problems of just and equitable relations, the problems of access to markets, the problems of subsidies which destroy Caribbean economies, for example – if the real problems of terrorism were discussed, of drug trafficking, if they were to be discussed with the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean on an equal plane, perhaps these summits, even with Cuba excluded, would have served some purpose. But not if they only served to extend U.S. domination, to expand this interventionist presence, this interference in our states; if they served to extend and deepen this relationship of exploitation of our economies and our resources, resistance was necessary.

Today, years later, the reality is completely clear, everyone knows, no one has any doubt, after having buried the FTAA, about the purpose of this type of summit and the exclusion of Cuba is probably the most notorious symbol. It is more evident that these summits are created in the image and likeness of their owner, which is the government of the United States and that they serve as its instrument to exercise domination in a totally undemocratic manner, disrespecting other countries which are equal, sovereign, and which do not accept being treated like a back yard.

Patrick Hoffman (CNN) – Good morning. How are you?

If Cuba does not want to participate in the summit, why are some ALBA countries, some Presidents, fighting for you to be there?

Bruno Rodríguez - Cuba has said since 1994 that its exclusion from these summits is unjustifiable and unacceptable. Cuba was asked if it would attend, if it were invited. It was asked in 2009 as well. Cuba has always responded that, if invited as an equal with full rights, it would attend the Summit based on its principled foreign policy positions, in accordance with the truth and all due respect.

The ALBA countries are denouncing this arbitrary, unsustainable exclusion, left-over from the Cold War era, inappropriate given the times, unfitting of the relationship which the United States supposedly wants to construct now with Latin America and the Caribbean, different from that of the 1990’s.

Roberto Hernández (Prensa Latina) – Good morning, Minister.

Has a date been set for the next meeting of the ALBA foreign ministers?

Bruno Rodríguez - Not yet. We are in contact, in fact, we were in contact yesterday and we will continue to exchange impressions over the next few days.

Sarah Rainsford (BBC) - Hello. I would like to ask what you consider the likelihood of Cuba being included in the next Summit. What might that depend on, what are the necessary conditions?

Bruno Rodríguez – I believe that we all understand that an eventual invitation to Cuba, as the Colombian President has explained, depends on consensus. We all understand what ‘consensus’ means. Consensus on this issue means Washington’s authorization and this is a question which should be directed to the U.S. government. I don’t know what the U.S. government will do. What it has done, as of just yesterday, is reiterate its old, failed position, which has lasted 50 years, which does not work and someone should think about reconsidering.

Thank you for your presence here this morning.

Thank you very much.

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  • 1 month later...

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Details of the meeting (being blanketed by a ridiculous scandal re SS and Military indiscretions as if that is anything new, avoiding the real issues)

Havana. April 18, 2012

DECLARATION OF THE CUBAN REVOLUTIONARY GOVERNMENT

For our second independence

THE Summit held in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, gave evidence of the ever-growing abyss that exists between "Our America", as Martí called it, and the "turbulent and brutal North that despises us." Cartagena witnessed a rebellion of Latin America and the Caribbean against the imposition made by "one and a half governments" which applied their imperial veto to paragraphs in the Draft Final Declaration of the so-called Summit of the Americas which demanded an end to the blockade and Cuba’s exclusion from hemispheric events.

Since the celebration of the former Summit in 2009, the illusions about the policy of President Obama vanished; a gap between his speeches and his actions widened. There were no major changes in the policy towards Latin America and the Caribbean. The blockade against Cuba continued and it was even tightened in the financial sector, despite the international condemnation and the overwhelming vote against it at the United Nations General Assembly. The purpose of the blockade is "to bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of government", which is now known as "change of regime".

The ALBA group met on February 4 last in Caracas on the occasion of the celebration of an anniversary of the historical Civic and Military Rebellion of 1992. It adopted one Declaration on the Sovereignty of Argentina over the Malvinas Islands, another on the blockade and described the imposition of Cuba’s exclusion from these events as unfair and unacceptable. President Correa resolutely stated that if this issue was not resolved, Ecuador would not attend the Cartagena Summit. This statement shook the entire region. That courageous stand was the prelude to what happened next.

President Raúl Castro expressed at the ALBA meeting: "I would like to thank President Correa, Evo and all of you for your statements…You are absolutely right; this is an issue of utmost importance. We have never asked for such a measure, but that does not mean we will not support this one, which we think is only fair."

The president of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos visited us, in a respectful fashion, and received a response from President Raúl Castro Ruz stating that Cuba, if invited, would attend the Summit, abiding by its principles and the truth, with absolute respect, as is customary. He deserves credit for explicitly introducing the issue of the blockade and the exclusion of Cuba.

President Evo Morales, who was the first to question the Summit at the February ALBA meeting in Caracas, waged a battle in Cartagena and stated as follows: "We are going through a phase of disintegration. It is not possible that one country could veto the presence of Cuba. Therefore, there is no integration; and with the absence of Ecuador, an absence that is only fair to protest the U.S. veto against Cuba, what kind of integration can we talk about?"

On April 13, President Chávez exclaimed: "Now, truth be told, if these two governments, the United States and Canada, refuse to discuss issues that are so profoundly identified with Latin America and the Caribbean such as the issue of Cuba, the sister nation of Cuba, the fraternal Cuba, or the issue of the Malvinas Islands, what’s the point of holding any more Summits of the Americas? We will have to do away with these Summits". Before that, he had written: "We likewise call for an end to the shameful and criminal blockade of the sister Republic of Cuba, a blockade that has been cruelly and brutally imposed by the empire for more than 50 years against the heroic people of José Martí."

At a massive rally in solidarity with Cuba, full of young people, held on April 14 in Managua, Daniel Ortega stated as follows: "I think it is high time for the government of the United States to listen to all Latin American nations, with the most diverse ideologies and political philosophies, ranging from the most conservative to the most revolutionary. But, despite that, they all agree that Cuba must be present in these meetings; otherwise there won’t be any other so-called, or misnamed, Summit of the Americas."

The unitary and solid stand adopted by Our America on the blockade, the exclusion of Cuba and the Malvinas Islands was truly impressive. The resolve and dignity upheld by the President of Argentina in her strong defense of these causes were indicative.

We felt proud when the President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, expressed with serene dignity, in front of Obama, that the Greater Homeland can only be treated as an equal and reaffirmed the common position in support of Argentina and Cuba.

The Caribbean leaders gave evidence of the soundness of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the fact that the Caribbean and Latin America are likewise indivisible. Their defense of Argentinean sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands and their traditional and categorical support to Cuba were transcendental.

The left, popular, trade union, youth and student organizations, as well as the NGO’s, gathered at the Congress of the Peoples in Cartagena expressed an emotional solidarity with Cuba. The Inter-Parliamentary Meeting of the Americas condemned the exclusion of and the blockade of our country.

The United States underestimated the fact that on December 2, 2011, in Caracas, on the occasion of the Bicentennial of the Independence of that country, under the leadership of Chávez, and on the occasion of the 55th anniversary of the Landing of the Granma, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) was founded, an event that had been anticipated by the leader of the Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, on February, 2010, when he wrote: "no other institutional event in our hemisphere in the course of the last century has been so transcendental."

At that first Summit, when Cuba was elected as President of CELAC for the year 2013, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz stated: "With the decisions which we have adopted here and the joint work that we have carried out during the last three years, we have vindicated more than two centuries of struggles and hopes. Having come this far has required effort, blood and sacrifice. The colonial metropolis of the past and the imperial powers of the present have opposed this endeavor."

Obama does not seem to understand either the significance of the Bolivarian victory of April 13, 2002, or the fact that it’s been ten years now since the coup d’etat, organized by his predecessor with the support of the OAS and the Spanish government headed by Aznar, against President Hugo Chávez, in an attempt to annihilate the Bolivarian Revolution and assassinate its leader. As the Venezuelan Foreign Minister, Nicolás Maduro, reminded him, looking him straight in the eye, in a memorable speech delivered at the Cartagena Summit, the U.S. government continues to intervene in the internal affairs of Venezuela and support the coup conspirators whose members have now become electoral candidates.

President Obama should have realized that the Cartagena Summit was not the best place to offer Cuba advice about democracy, much less when the person attempting to do so was absolutely isolated, forced to apply the empire’s veto, given its lack of ideas and political or moral authority. He engaged in demagogy prior to some troublesome elections. He should rather take care of his wars, crises and politicking. We, Cubans, will take care of Cuba.

The United States never wanted to discuss the terrible consequences of neoliberalism for Latin America and the Caribbean; or the situation of immigrants in the United States and Europe, who are separated from their families, cruelly deported or murdered at walls like the one that has been built along the Río Bravo. The U.S. government never agreed to talk about the poor either, who account for half of humanity.

The empire and the former colonial metropolis do not listen to the "indignados," their citizens and minorities who live in poverty in those opulent societies, while investing huge amounts of money to bail out corrupt bankers and speculators. In the superpower, 10 per cent of families control 80 per cent of the wealth. Those resources are enough to solve the problems of the planet.

The novelty at the Cartagena meeting was that many of the governments, with natural differences and different approaches, demanded an alternative model that gives priority to solidarity and complementarity over competition based on selfishness; guarantees a harmonious relationship with nature rather than the plundering of natural resources or frenzied consumption. They called for the protection of cultural diversity as opposed to the imposition of values and lifestyles that are alien to our peoples. They asked for the consolidation of peace and rejected wars and militarization.

They launched an appeal to recover the human condition in our societies and build a world that promotes respect for the plurality of ideas and models; the democratic participation of society in government affairs, including consultation about economic and monetary policies; the battle against illiteracy, infant and maternal mortality and curable diseases. They called for greater access to both free and truthful information and potable water. They recognized the existence of social exclusion and the fact that human rights are to be exercised by all and should not be used as a political weapon by the powerful.

This time, the United States government was forced to listen, not to an almost unique voice as had been the case for decades or to a slender minority as occurred until very recently. Now it was the majority of peoples which expressed itself at the Summit to promote this indispensable debate either through their Presidents and Heads of Delegations or through the stand adopted by those who did not attend. The Summit was censored because the empire listens with deaf ears.

In Cartagena, the Monroe Doctrine –"America for the Americans"- was laid bare. As if no one could remember the deception of the Alliance for Progress in 1961 and the Americas Initiative or FTAA in 1994, they have tried to trick us into trusting the "Alliance of Equals."

As Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz predicted during an international event held in Cartagena on June 14, 1994, the so-called Summits of the Americas have only benefited the North.

When expressing his opinion about a similar meeting held in Washington 105 years ago, José Martí wrote: "After viewing with judicial eyes the antecedents, motives, and ingredients of the feast, it is essential to say, for it is true, that the time has come for Spanish America to declare its second independence."

During the meeting itself, ALBA declared both officially and publicly that without a radical change in the nature of these Summits, it will never attend these meetings again. Other continental leaders have made similar statements.

As to the OAS - that unburied corpse - there is no need to say anything about it.

The Republic of Argentina has the inalienable right to exercise its sovereignty over the Malvinas, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands as well as over the surrounding maritime areas.

Cuba is mindful of the fact that the Greater Homeland will not be complete until the sister people of Puerto Rico is able to exercise its inalienable right to self-determination and until Puerto Rico, a Latin American and Caribbean nation, submitted to the colonial status imposed by the United States, achieves its full independence.

With a solid consensus on regional sovereignty and the defense of our culture within our rich diversity, with almost 600 million inhabitants and abundant natural resources, Our America has now the opportunity to solve the serious problems of extreme inequality in the distribution of wealth and could contribute, with its already obvious strength, to the "equilibrium of the world", the defense of peace and the preservation of the human species.

To that end, and in the face of attempts to divide us and derail us, which will continue to appear over and over again, Our America must remain united.

No one in the North should ever forget that 51 years ago the Cuban people were already defending, at this very hour, a Socialist Revolution on the bloodstained sands of Playa Girón and that, ever since, "all the peoples of the Americas are a little bit freer."

Havana, April 18, 2012

R e f l e c t i o n s o f F i d e l C a s t r o

Havana. April 18, 2012

Reflections of Fidel

Sugarcoated realities fading away

(Taken from Cubadebate)

I was surprised today as I listened to the speech delivered by Jose Miguel Insulza in Cartagena. I thought that the person who was speaking on behalf of the OAS would at least demand some respect for the sovereignty of the peoples of this hemisphere which were for years colonized and cruelly exploited by colonial powers.

Why didn’t he say a single word about the Malvinas Islands, or demand respect for the sovereign rights of the sister nation of Argentina?

The Cartagena Summit went through episodes that will not be easily forgotten. It is true that its celebration required a huge effort. Despite the several hours that have elapsed since its inaugural session, we have no idea of what happened during the lunch sponsored by Santos, with which he attempted to make up for the colossal amount of energy used up by the participants in that Summit.

Those who may find this entertaining, will very seldom in their lives have the opportunity to watch the faces of more than thirty political leaders in front of the TV cameras since they got out of their cars until the moment when, after the heroic and final effort involved in walking down a long carpeted corridor, they climbed up 10 or 12 steps to the stage where the host, smiling and happy, waited to greet them. It didn’t matter whether they were young or of age, or whether they had flat feet, knee surgery or difficulties in one or both legs. They were forced to continue to the top. Rich or poor, they were compelled to observe the protocol.

Curiously enough, Obama was the only one who took advantage of the route to get some exercise. As he was walking all by himself, it was easier for him to do so: he adopted a sporting attitude and jogged up the steps.

The women attending the Summit either as companions or as Heads of State were the ones who did it best. Once again they proved that the world would be a far better place if they took care of political affairs. Perhaps there would be fewer wars, although no one can be sure of that.

Some might say that, for obvious political reasons, Obama was the figure who made the worst impression on me. However, this was not the case. I noticed he was pensive and at times quite absent. It was as if he were sleeping with open eyes. No one knows how much rest he had before arriving in Cartagena, which generals he spoke with, what problems were on his mind; whether he was thinking about Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, North Korea or Iran. Quite certainly, of course, he was thinking about the elections, Tea Party moves and Mitt Romney’s sinister plans. At the very last minute, shortly before the Summit, he decided that the tax contributions of the richest should equal at least 30% of their income, as it was before the Bush Jr. administration. This, of course, would allow him to portray a clearer image of his sense of justice as opposed to the Republican right.

But the real problem is this: the enormous debt accumulated by the federal government, which exceeds 15 trillion dollars and demands no less than 5 trillion dollars in resources. The tax to be imposed on the richest will contribute around 50 billion dollars over a period of ten years, while the need for funds will increase to 5 trillions. Therefore, he will be receiving one dollar for every 100 that are needed. An eighth grader could do these calculations.

We should remember very well what Dilma Rousseff demanded relations ‘on equal terms’ with Brazil and the rest of Latin America.

"The Euro-zone has responded to the economic crisis with a monetary expansion, thus provoking a ‘tsunami’ that has led to an appreciation of the Brazilian currency and has damaged the competitiveness of the national industry", she stated.

Those realities do not escape Dilma Rousseff, a capable and intelligent woman who knows how to address them with authority and dignity.

Obama, who is accustomed to having the last word, knows that the Brazilian economy is emerging with impressive strength and that, in conjunction with others like those of Venezuela, Argentina, China, Russia, South Africa and others from Latin America and the world, will trace the future of the world’s development.

The biggest problem of all is to preserve peace in the face of an increasing danger of war that, given the destructive power of modern weapons, would push humanity to the edge of an abyss.

I realize that the meetings in Cartagena are taking a long time and the sugarcoated realities are fading away. Nothing was said about the guayabera shirts presented to Obama as a gift. Somebody will have to compensate the Cartagena designer Edgar Gómez.

firma-17abril.jpg

Fidel Castro Ruz

April14, 2012

9:58 p.m.

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There is stuff starting to dribble out. It does indeed appear that the US and Canado veto of Cubas involvement in the summit is indeed a central matter. (as well as the Malvinas of course). There is speculation that there may not be another summit and if there is the US government certainly knows now that the citizens of the world knows it is facing a new South America and it is encumbent on it to change or possibly find them selves further out of influence, one commentator had it that the US itself may be excluded from a next meeting..

Of course this is disturbing becuse it is so clear what to expect from the US when it finds itself in this position.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Secret service prostitute says secret information was easily accessible

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/04/secret-service-prostitute-secret-

information

''A woman who says she was the prostitute who triggered the US secret service

scandal in Colombia said that the agents involved were "idiots" for letting it

happen, and declared that if she were a spy and sensitive information was

available, she could have easily obtained it.

The woman said she spent five hours in a Cartagena, Colombia, hotel room with an

agent, and while she barely got cab fare out of him, she could have gotten

information that would have compromised the security of US president Barack

Obama if the agent had any. "Totally," she replied when asked.

"The man slept all night," said the woman, who was identified by her lawyer as

Dania Londono Suarez. "If I had wanted to, I could have gone through all his

documents, his wallet, his suitcase."

She said in the 90-minute interview with Colombia's W Radio that no US

investigator had been in touch with her, although reporters descended on her

home a week after the incident when a taxi driver led them to it.

"They could track me anywhere in the world that I go but they haven't done so,"

she said, speaking in Spanish. "If the secret service agents were idiots,

imagine the investigators."

That alarmed a US congressman who is monitoring the case.

Representative Peter King, chairman of the House homeland security committee,

issued a statement on Friday expressing concern that investigators "have been

unable to locate and interview two of the female foreign nationals involved,"

including Londono. "I have asked the secret service for an explanation of how

they have failed to find this woman when the news media seems to have no trouble

doing so."

Eight secret service agents have lost their jobs in the scandal, although there

is no evidence any of the 10 women interviewed by US investigators for their

roles in it have any connection to terrorist groups, King said earlier this

week.

In the interview, Londono called the secret service agents caught up in the

scandal "fools for being from Obama's security and letting all this happen".

"When I said, 'I'm going to call the police so they pay me my money,' and it

didn't bother them, didn't they see the magnitude of the problem?" she said.

Londono said the man never identified himself as a member of Obama's advance

security detail for an inter-governmental summit, and said she saw nothing in

his room that would have indicated the man's job other than a brown uniform.

Londono said the man had agreed to pay her $800, but that she never would have

made a public fuss about his failure to pay had she known he was part of Obama's

security detail and realised the repercussions it would have for her.

"My life is practically destroyed," she said. "My name is in the gutter."

Her photo has been splashed all over the internet since a newspaper took it off

Facebook a week after the incident, when she said she fled Colombia fearing for

her life.

"I was afraid they might retaliate," she said, saying she feared for herself and

her family after looking up secret service on the internet and seeing that some

agents were sharpshooters.

...

She said she had contracted one of Colombia's top lawyers, Abelardo De la

Espriella. He confirmed her identity for the AP and said she called him for the

first time earlier Friday, recommended by the radio host who interviewed

Londono.

He said he didn't see that there was any criminal infraction in the incident.

Prostitution is legal in Colombia.

"Let's see how we can help her," De la Espriella said of Londono.

Londono appeared in the interview, part of which was also broadcast by

Colombia's Caracol TV, ...

While W Radio did not say where she was interviewed, she later gave an interview

to the Spanish radio network Cadeba Ser, which said it was recorded in one of

its studios.

...

She said that the desk clerk at the Hotel Caribe called at 6.30am to tell her it

was time to leave, and the agent addressed her with an insult in telling her to

get out.

Dania said it was nearly three hours after the man kicked her out of the room

and she alerted a Colombian policeman stationed on the hallway before three

colleagues of the agent, who had refused to open his door after giving her $30,

scraped together $250 and paid her, she said.

"'The only thing they said was 'Please, please. No police, no police,'" she

said.

Later that day, 12 April, the agent and 11 other secret service colleagues who

may have also had prostitutes in their rooms at the five-star hotel were sent

home, under investigation for alleged misconduct.

Londono's story agrees with what investigators in Washington have disclosed.

She said she met the man, one of ten or 11 agents in a Cartagena bar, and

accompanied him back to the hotel, stopping on the way to buy condoms.

She said the other agents at the bar were all drunk.

"They bought alcohol like they were buying water," she said, though she never

saw any evidence that any of them used illegal drugs.

She said the man she was with was only moderately intoxicated. She said she did

not know his name.

Londono said that she went to Dubai after the scandal broke and spent time with

someone she had previously met in Cartagena. She would not say whether that

person had been a client.

... ''

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  • 2 weeks later...

http://www.granma.cu/ingles/international-i/10may-What.html

Havana. May 10, 2012

OBAMA’S LATIN AMERICAN POLICY

What’s changed? Who’s changed?

Dalia González Delgado

WHEN the presidents of Latin American countries first heard about Barack Obama’s campaign in 2008, they thought that perhaps U.S. policy toward the region might change.

In 2009, just months after taking office, Obama tried to promote this hope at the 5th Summit of the Americas in Trinidad & Tobago. He approached Chávez there, extended his hand and made unprecedented statements. He asserted that the time had come to develop a relationship as equals, admitting that the U.S. may have at times, erroneously, attempted to impose its will on the region. He spoke of taking relations between the U.S. and Cuba in a "new direction."

Now we know that was all theater. Only the speech changed, differing from that of his predecessor, the less intelligent George W. Bush, but expressing the same rhetoric.

The United States supported the coup in Honduras, continues to finance subversion in Venezuela and the blockade of Cuba remains intact. Examples abound.

U.S. policy towards Latin America remains unchanged: to try and destroy or derail all political integration efforts developing on the continent, beyond its control.

This policy is, however, becoming increasingly difficult to implement and the Summit of the Americas was a case in point.

In Cartagena, for the first time, Latin America spoke loud and clear. Obama was shamed. And not by the sexual scandal created by his Secret Service agents, which the media has exacerbated, thus obscuring the true significance of the Summit.

After the meeting, influential U.S. media outlets acknowledged that the country found itself on the defensive with respect to Cuba at the Summit.

Commenting on the fact that the Summit ended without agreement on a joint declaration, The Washington Post wrote, "The ambiguous conclusion underscored the fact that Obama, while pledging a new relationship with the United States’ leery southern neighbors, has had little success in bridging significant policy differences that have divided the region for decades."

Some analysts offered the opinion that the U.S. has neglected its ‘back yard’ while focusing on the Middle East.

However, Carlos Oliva Campos, a faculty member at the University of Havana, commented to Granma, "The fact that the region is not a priority for a given administration does not mean that the region has lost its critical importance within the heart of U.S. foreign policy. Practically, throughout our entire history, we have served as a laboratory for policies and a proving ground for strategies."

"Although the Middle East, Asia, and Russia under Putin, are priorities, Obama’s policy toward Latin America and the Caribbean is essentially a continuation," he said.

"The Summit of the Americas was very important because the region is no longer the same. Now there is another relationship of forces, very interesting, because it’s the ‘left’, not just socialists, which is complicating the U.S. response. What’s more, the U.S. is no longer the only defining external factor for markets or trade in the region."

Can we be optimistic and rest assured that the U.S. has lost influence in Latin America? Joseph Tulchin, Professor at Harvard University’s Center for Latin American Studies, responded to the question via e-mail, "The question is not whether the U.S. is losing influence. It’s that some countries in Latin America have assumed a leading role in the world and do not want to continue the historic relationship of weakness and vulnerability in the face of U.S. hegemony."

"We should not think that the inter-American system is finished," Carlos Oliva commented, "but the negotiating positions are no longer the same. Cuba is part of the new Latin American and Caribbean system and this can no longer be ignored."

Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) in Washington D.C. said, "Latin America is now more independent of the United States than Europe is, and its independence is growing. There are structural reasons for these changes, among them the failure of neoliberalism. Perhaps most important, the people of the region have voted for left governments because they can: in the past… the United States did not allow such choices to be made peacefully.

It is clear that the Obama administration has not changed U.S. policy toward Latin America. However, the political situation south of the Río Bravo is now different, with more unity, and the White House will have to accept this and adapt."

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US Secret Service agents' alleged scandals since 2004 revealed

List claims involvement with prostitutes, sexual assault, leaking information and improper use of weapons

guardian.co.uk, Friday 15 June 2012 18.48 BST

secret-service-us-008.jpg

The US Secret Service at work – on the rooftops to protect President Barack Obama, who was attending a fundraising dinner in New York this week. Photograph: KeystoneUSA-ZUMA /Rex Features

The US government has revealed details of serious allegations against Secret Service agents and officers since 2004, including claims of involvement with prostitutes, leaking sensitive information, publishing pornography, sexual assault, illegal wiretaps, improper use of weapons and drunken behaviour. It was not clear how many of the accusations were confirmed to be true.

The heavily redacted list on 229 pages was released under the US Freedom of Information Act. It follows a scandal in April, in which Secret Service agents were alleged to have engaged prostitutes when assigned to protect the president at an international gathering in Colombia.

The list describes accusations filed against Secret Service employees with the Homeland Security Department's inspector general. In many cases, the government noted that claims were resolved administratively, while others were being formally investigated.

The disclosures lend weight to concerns expressed by Congress that the prostitution scandal exposed a culture of misconduct within the Secret Service. Secret Service director Mark Sullivan apologised for the incident during a hearing in May but insisted that what happened in Colombia was an isolated case.

Secret Service officials did not immediately respond on Friday to questions about the accusations.

The complaints include an alleged sexual assault reported in August 2011. In the heavily redacted entry, an employee was accused of pushing a woman who also worked for the agency on to a bed during a work trip. The employee "got on top of (censored) attempting to have sex", even though the woman "told (censored) 'no' several times". The entry noted that supervisors described the accused as "a conscientious and dependable employee". The incident was closed with an "administrative disposition" in February.

They also include an anonymous complaint in October 2003 that a Secret Service agent "may have been involved with a prostitution ring", noting that two telephone numbers belonging to the agent, whose name was censored and who has since retired, turned up as part of an FBI investigation into a prostitution ring. In 2005, an employee was reported to the Washington field office for being arrested on a charge of soliciting in a park. Documents do not reveal the outcome of that case.

In 2008, an on-duty uniformed officer was arrested in a Washington prostitution sting. The officer, who was driving a marked Secret Service vehicle at the time, was placed on administrative leave, the records show. Sullivan said during the May hearing that the officer was later fired.

Some of the allegations are spurious, such as a complaint in August 2010 that a Secret Service agent performed experiments and implanted stimulators in a citizen's brain. The list also includes dozens of complaints about fraudulent emails that circulate widely on the internet and appear to come from the Secret Service.

A dozen Secret Service officers, agents and supervisors were implicated in the Colombia scandal and eight have been forced out of the agency. At least two employees are fighting to get their jobs back.

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