Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced yesterday that Cuba will not be invited to attend the Summit of the Americas, which he will host in Cartagena, Colombia, on April 14 and 15. The announcement came at the conclusion of a trip to Cuba where the Colombian president had met with Raúl Castro. Cuba’s foreign minister, Bruno Rodríguez, said that this verdict was not a new revelation, dryly calling it a “chronicle of an exclusion foretold.” He nonetheless also said that Cuba’s exclusion from these summits is unacceptable and unjustifiable. Meanwhile, he asserted that the U.S. was behind the agenda, and is following a policy of economic and political blockade that “violates the human rights of the citizens of Cuba.”
On Wednesday Raúl Castro thanked Santos for his efforts to include Cuba in the Cartagena Aummit. Since the first Summit in 1994 the communist-led country has been excluded from participating in the hemispheric gathering. Ecuador, Bolivia and Venezuela have pushed in recent years for Cuba to be included in the meeting. Santos had previously said that Cuba’s participation in the Summit would require consensus; on Thursday he said he was “not able to find” that consensus. Some members of the leftist Alianza Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra América (Bolivarian Alternative to the Americas) had said they would boycott the Summit if Cuba was not invited. The status of their participation remains to be determined.