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Cuba to join Summit of the Americas?

April 15, 2012 at 1:53 PM

CARTAGENA, Colombia, April 15 (UPI) -- The Summit of the Americas held in Colombia opened with a debate over whether to allow Cuba to attend future summits, officials said.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said Saturday the current summit in Cartagena should be the last one without Cuban leaders present, The Miami Herald reported Sunday.

"Isolation, embargo, indifference and looking the other way have shown their inefficiency, " Santos said. "It is anachronism that keeps us anchored in a Cold War era."

U.S. Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fla., leader of the bipartisan congressional delegation to the summit, released a statement Sunday saying there should be zero tolerance for military dictatorships such as Cuba.

"I agree with President Santos that the Cuban people should be represented at the Summit of the Americas. But it should be by a democratically elected government that respects the human and political rights of its people, not a regime that chooses to isolate itself by refusing to respect the democratic standards by which the other 34 out of 35 countries in the Western Hemisphere abide. That is certainly not too much to ask, and it is the least that the Cuban people deserve," the statement read.

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