Clinton Says Cuba Not Ready For OAS

(AP) Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Wednesday that Cuba shouldn’t be allowed to rejoin the Organization of American States until it makes political reforms, releases political prisoners and respects human rights.

Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Clinton said the charter of the Western Hemisphere bloc of nations requires members to adhere to democratic standards that the communist government of Cuba does not yet meet.

“Any effort to admit Cuba into the OAS is really in Cuba’s hands,” she said. “They have to be willing to take the concrete steps necessary to meet those principles.”

“If Cuba is not willing to abide by (the charter’s) terms then I cannot foresee how Cuba can be a part of the OAS and I certainly would not be supporting in any way such an effort to admit it,” said Clinton, who plans to attend the organization’s annual general assembly on June 2 in Honduras.

At that meeting, some countries want the organization to annul a resolution that suspended Cuba’s membership. Cuba was expelled from the OAS in 1962 after the communist revolution that brought Fidel Castro to power.

“We’re hoping that the members of the OAS will abide by their own charter,” Clinton said.

The Obama administration has said it wants to engage with Cuba and eased some sanctions but has called on Cuba’s government, now led by Fidel Castro’s brother Raul, to reciprocate with reforms before moving ahead. Clinton said those steps would include moving toward democracy, releasing political prisoners and respecting “fundamental freedoms.” – Luxury in Cuba


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