By Stephen Kangal
February 04, 2009
Contrary to the view expressed by Foreign Affairs Minister Gopee-Scoon the time is most propitious and ripe for the Inter-American System to be initiating dialogue with the regime of Raul Castro. President Barack Obama has signaled in clear, unambiguous language that US rapprochement with Cuba is on the cards especially with the closure of the Gitmo Detention Centre. He has also relaxed travel restrictions to Cuba by Cuban-Americans.
The Fifth Summit participants cannot vicariously adopt a position on the potential re-admission of Cuba to the Inter-American family unless and until, according to OAS Deputy Secretary-General Ambassador Albert Ramdin they have first hand insights into the thinking of the Cuban Government as expressed by the Cubans themselves.
The Cubans can be invited to participate as an Observer Delegation by the exercise of host-state prerogative since the Fifth Summit of the Americas is not an Official OAS Meeting but an FTAA meeting with the OAS providing Secretariat services. Such an invitation will attract astronomical interest by the international media and enhance the diplomatic reputation of T&T. Cuba was not officially expelled from the OAS. It was merely excluded from participating in OAS institutions.
One must remember that the capitalism ethic (according to Sparrow gone mad) has all but collapsed. Even the epi-centre of market theology, Washington as well as Western Europe/G7 have now adopted socialist intervention practices and strategies in the commanding heights of the US/Western economies. Accordingly the socialist doctrines of the Castro regime that constituted the ratio dicidendi for isolating and quarantining Cuba for 50 years have now been mitigated by the current capitalist/ global village melt-down. The leadership in Cuba has also changed. Capitalism is no longer the panacea that it was made out to be. There are also nine socialist states in Latin America.
It is also to be noted that the presence of the Cubans at the Fifth Summit will reduce the level of local protests during the Summit. It may also cause the leftist leadership in Venezuela (Chavez), Ecuador, Chile, Bolivia (Evo Morales), Brazil (Lula), Nicaragua, Uruguay and Argentina (Cristina Fenandez) to respond favourably to the Manning Administration. It will also add a new spirit of inclusion and hemispheric co-operation to the diplomatic setting of the Fifth Summit in POS.
The proposed T&T invitation to the Cubans to attend the Fifth Summit as advocated the COP is a win-win foreign policy option for PM Manning/Caricom. It will be conducting the politics of inclusion premised on the audacity of hope and reconciliation that is the DNA of the new Obama Administration.