Today’s decision at the OAS meeting in Honduras to rescind the 1962 resolution that expelled Cuba is no surprise. Meeting participants might have given the impression that a tortuous struggle ensued and that dawn’s light brought no sign of consensus. But, if you look at all this as an intricate dance shared between partners expert in knowing where to put their feet and when, you will see that the choreography was done well in advance of the OAS meeting.
Since the Summit of the Americas in Port of Spain, the injustice of the OAS’ 1962 decision to exclude Cuba has been discussed at fever pitch throughout the media and in the halls of government in several countries in the Western Hemisphere. The usefulness of the OAS was debated hotly. Was it a Cold War dinosaur that the US would use to keep its southern brown and black brothers in line?
Approximately two to three weeks ago, Secretary of State Hillary began to seize every opportunity to put the world on notice that if the OAS rescinded the 1962 resolution, the US would not support Cuba’s re-admission unless it made changes to democratize and improve its human rights record. This has been the US’ standard requirement of Cuba regardless of the issue. Yet the requirement is increasingly ineffective because the US’ demonstration of democracy has been a little, shall we say, shaky.
Cuba made it known, through both Raul and Fidel, that it would never seek re-admittance to the OAS. To further emphasize the point, Granma, the Cuban state newspaper, published an damning trilogy entitled, “The OAS: Its Shameful History.” The more Cuba disavowed interest in joining the OAS, the more forceful and disrespectful Clinton’s tone became. On the first day of the OAS meeting, Fidel wrote a reflection about Clinton’s behavior, entitled “Applauses and Silences.” Cuba’s disdain for the OAS could not have been presented in stronger terms.
Throughout the first day of the OAS meeting, the jockeying for position began. Nicaragua, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador wanted the Cuba agenda item moved up on the schedule. The US, Canada, and Brazil were trying to move the issue to a work group. In the end, both happened. The work group took on the issue and deliberated until late in the night on Tuesday. Magically, by mid-day today, there was a consensus on Cuba. The 1962 resolution was rescinded with the proviso that should Cuba ever seek admittance in the future, its “democracy” and “human rights” barometers would need checking.
The crux of this is that the US knew well before the OAS meeting that 1) nearly ever damn country in the OAS wanted the 1962 order rescinded and wouldn’t leave unless it was and 2) these countries would never let the US place conditions on Cuba so it could receive the “gift” of a rescinded resolution.
Like all issues surrounding Cuba, the US must play to the Miami Cubans first. Clinton’s blustering in the preceding weeks was nothing but a show for Little Havana.
While playing this charade, the real US evil being visited upon the people of Cuba remained undiscussed and unabated – a 47 year-old genocidal blockade.