Cuba refuses OAS offer to rejoin

June 5, 2009

Following a recent vote to re-admit the leftist island nation, Cuba´s government officially rejected on Monday the offer to rejoin the Organization of American States (OAS), criticizing what it considers an organization with a history of “servility” to U.S. interests.

“Cuba welcomes with satisfaction this expression of sovereignty and civic-mindedness…” displayed by the OAS consensus to strike down Cuba´s 47-year suspension, the government said in a statement posted in English Monday on the state newspaper Granma´s Web site.

“However, Cuba once again confirms that it will not return to the OAS,” the statement said.

In a decisive Cold War moment, the OAS barred Cuba in 1962 because of its alliance with the Soviet Union and China.

Since then, Cuba claims, the organization “has played an active role in Washington´s policy of hostility against Cuba,” the government stated, stressing the OAS´ role in enforcing the U.S. trade embargo and in persuading member states to break off diplomatic relations with Havana.

Recently, member states, including El Salvador and Costa Rica, have shown an about-face on the question of engaging Cuba in diplomacy. Even the U.S. has taken strides, pledging to improve communications and travel between the two countries. But criticism of Washington´s embargo against Cuba has only intensified.

Cuba seized the opportunity of last week´s vote to drive a wedge into what it perceives as a division between most OAS members and the United States. “…The last-minute consensus … dealt (Washington-driven) imperialism a defeat using its very own instrument,” the government stated.

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