Thu, Apr 16, 2009 - Page 7 News List

The Organization of American States is not for Cuba: Castro

REUTERS , HAVANA

Former Cuban president Fidel Castro said on Tuesday that Cuba had no desire to rejoin the Organization of American States (OAS), as called for by some of Cuba’s allies, and that he did not even want to “hear the vile name of that institution.”

Castro, in his third column published on Tuesday, said the OAS “has a history that collects all the trash of 60 years of betrayal of the people of Latin America.”

He said the organization had been involved in “aggressive actions” that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.

Cuba was suspended from the 35-member OAS in 1962 because the communist system created by Castro after he took power in a 1959 revolution was judged to be “incompatible” with the organization’s principles.

Castro has criticized the group for years, calling it the “Ministry of Colonies” of the US.

Before the OAS Summit of the Americas set to begin tomorrow in Trinidad and Tobago, several Latin American countries have said Cuba should be reinstated in the organization, which promotes regional cooperation and democracy.

Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim told reporters in Rio de Janeiro on Monday that Cuba’s absence from the OAS “is an anomaly that needs to be corrected.”

OAS chief Jose Miguel Insulza told Brazilian newspaper O Globo that Cuba must show its commitment to democracy to be readmitted.

“We need to know if Cuba is interested in returning to multilateral organizations or if it is thinking only about the end of the embargo and economic growth,” he told the newspaper, referring to the US trade embargo imposed on Cuba since 1962.

“It even offends us to suppose that we are desiring of entering the OAS. That train passed a while back and Insulza still doesn’t know it,” Castro said.

Castro, 82, has not been seen in public since intestinal surgery in July 2006. He ceded power to his brother, President Raul Castro, last year.

The first two of Fidel Castro’s columns on Tuesday dealt in part with Monday’s decision by US President Barack Obama to let Cuban-Americans travel freely to Cuba and send as much money as they want to relatives there.

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