Latin America And U.S. Can't Agree On Cuba At Americas Summit

 
on April 16 2012 12:02 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama and his Colombian counterpart Juan Manuel Santos shake hands at a joint news conference in Cartagena
U.S. President Barack Obama and his Colombian counterpart Juan Manuel Santos shake hands at a joint news conference in Cartagena Reuters

With White House Secret Service agents embroiled in a prostitution scandal, this weekend's Summit of the Americas didn't exactly get off to a flying start.

Indeed, the conference in Colombia went from bad to worse, as some Latin American leaders criticized the United States and Canada for continuing to block Communist-ruled Cuba from attending the 18-year-old conference.

The meeting ended on a frosty note Sunday, with the leaders of Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua all vowing to boycott next year's meeting if Cuba remains banned.

There is no declaration because there is no consensus, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced at the closing news conference, according to the AP.

President Evo Morales of Bolivia, added that the United States was acting like a dictatorship.

The U.S. and Canada also angered their Latin counterparts by refusing to endorse a final declaration on Argentina's claim over the disputed Falkland Islands (which are also claimed by Great Britain).

But despite the swift and bitter end to this year's summit, President Barack Obama and President Manuel agreed on a number of initiatives, including a free trade agreement that Obama said would increase U.S. imports by $1 billion a year and that Santos said would create 500,000 jobs.

The pair also signed an agreement allowing Colombians to obtain 10-year visas to visit the U.S., doubling the previous limit.

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