Wed, Jun 03, 2009 - Page 7 News List

El Salvador, Cuba restore full diplomatic relations


El Salvador and Cuba on Monday formally reestablished diplomatic ties, broken since the Cuban revolution 50 years ago.

The move came after former journalist Mauricio Funes was sworn in as president of El Salvador.

In his first act as new leader, Funes said he was restoring full diplomatic relations with Cuba, becoming the last Latin American nation to do so.

Under pressure from Washington, El Salvador had severed ties with Cuba during the depths of the Cold War.

“We will immediately establish diplomatic, cultural and commercial ties with Cuba, our sister nation,” Funes said during his inaugural address.

Senior diplomats from both countries then signed an accord officially reestablishing relations broken since 1961.

El Salvador’s newly installed foreign minister, Estaban Lazo, said, “they should never have severed ties with Cuba,” referring to his predecessors.

Funes, the first leftist to be elected president of El Salvador, also vowed to renew and expand ties with the US, at the ceremony attended by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Clinton earlier hailed the “peaceful transfer of power” in El Salvador after two decades of US-backed rightist governments.

Funes, the candidate of the ex-rebel Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, defeated Rodrigo Avila of the conservative Arena party in March with 51.2 percent of the vote against 48.7 percent.

Meanwhile, the US said on Monday it was evaluating the possibility of joining the majority proposal to revoke the suspension of Cuba from the Organization of American States (OAS).

Lewis Anselem, alternate representative of the US at the OAS, told reporters in San Pedro Sula that his delegation might withdraw its own proposal for the OAS General Assembly, set to meet yesterday and today in the Honduran city.

Cuba was suspended from OAS in 1962, at the behest of the US, over Havana’s Marxist-Leninist ideology.

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