OAS meeting on Cuba postponed after CARICOM members threaten boycott

 OAS meeting on Cuba  postponed after CARICOM members threaten boycott

WASHINGTON, United States – July 28, 2021 -   The Organisation of American States (OAS)  postponed its debate on the “current situation” in Cuba after several Caribbean Community (Caricom) countries raised concerns about the procedure used to convene the special meeting.

In a collective letter, signed by Antigua and Barbuda’s Permanent Representative, Sir Ronald Sanders, on behalf of 13 of the 15 CARICOM countries, and sent to the Chair of the Council Washington Abdala, it was expressed that  “our delegations collectively reiterate the position, previously expressed by Antigua and Barbuda, by formal letter of July 26th that since 1962 Cuba has not been a member of the OAS and has not participated in any of its activities.”

The letter noted that although efforts had been made to get Cuba back into the organisation including the passage of a resolution in 2009 that “the participation of the Republic of Cuba in the OAS will be the result of a process of dialogue initiated at the request of the Government of Cuba”, Cuba has made no effort to re-join the OAS and has publicly said that it will not do so.

“It is the considered opinion of our delegations that the proposed convocation of this meeting, which has been called without consultation, would be unproductive and would serve no useful purpose.

“All 13 of our delegations urge you to reconsider holding the meeting and advise that should you decide to proceed, our delegations will be obliged not to attend,” the letter stated, adding that “we  request that this letter be distributed to all member states urgently”.

Jamaica which has been a strong voice in the OAS for mover fifty years was not named as part of the thirteen CARICOM member states which confronted the OAS on behalf of Cuba.  However, a report in the Jamaica Observer  quogted Jamaica's Foreigh Affairs Minister Kamina Johnson Smith as saying that Jamaica was in full support of the CARICOM position.

The countries named in the letter are Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Bahamas, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, St Lucia, St Kitts-Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.

In a letter sent to the permanent missions accredited to the organization, the president of the OAS Permanent Council, Washington Abdala, reported the postponement of the meeting, given “the proposals in this regard by some countries,” which he did not identify. Abdala, who is a representative of Uruguay, considered that “what is being experienced in Cuba does not set a delay” and warned that “time runs against the defense of the rights and lives of many people.”

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