Cuba will not be attending the next Summit of the Americas in Cartagena de Indias, Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos yesterday confirmed.
The event, due to take place on the 14th and the 15th of April, will bring together heads of states from 34 different governments in Cartagena, a Colombian city on the Caribbean coast.
Santos made the announcement at Havana airport before flying out from Cuba. He had allegedly been in the country to discuss Cuban’s participation in the summit with his Cuban and Venezuelan counterparts, Raúl Castro and Hugo Chávez.
“Unfortunately the decision to invite Cuba requires a consensus and we haven’t been able to obtain one,” Santos told journalists who had gathered on the runway.
The Cuban chancellor Bruno Rodríguez did not hide the fact that he blamed the United States for the exclusion. “The consensus on this subject means Washington’s authorisation,” he told a press conference, “this hasn’t been a surprise, it was chronic of a premeditated exclusion.”
“The North American spokespeople had ordered Cuba’s exclusion since the first day, displaying enormous disrespect for Colombia, Latin America and the Caribbean,” he added.
The president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, who had previously talked about boycotting the event if Cuba weren’t allowed to attend, said he was still wasn’t sure whether or not to attend. “We would love to be at the Summit of the Americas but we have to analyse the issue very seriously,” he told a press conference in the governmental palace.
Colombia have already set plans in place for the security of the event, announcing that the summit will be guarded by 5,000 agents of the Colombian National Police Forces.