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U.S. reiterates objections to Cuba's reinstatement in OAS

RIA Novosti

12:0003/06/2009 MEXICO, June 3 (RIA Novosti) - The United States has once again stated its refusal to support reinstating Cuba in the Organization of American States (OAS) until the communist country conducts democratic reforms.

Cuba was suspended from the 34-member hemispheric organization in 1962 following Fidel Castro's revolution that turned the country to communism.

Addressing the 39th General Assembly of the OAS in Honduras on Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Havana's return to the Washington-based organization would be possible only after Cuba makes democratic changes, improves human rights and releases political prisoners.

"We do look forward to the day when Cuba can join the OAS. But we believe that membership in the OAS must come with responsibilities and we owe it to each other to uphold our standards of democracy and governance that have brought so much progress to our hemisphere," she said.

Manuel Zelaya, the president of Honduras, said it was time for the United States to forget the past and agree to end the membership suspension imposed on Cuba.

"It is not about reliving the past," Clinton said. "It is about the future of being true to the founding principles of this organization."

OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza called on foreign ministers to look for a compromise on the issue instead of a confrontation.

"Let's not be shy to discuss the issue, but, remembering our past, let's put forward the will to reach consensus," he said.

Last month former Cuban leader Fidel Castro strongly criticized the OAS.

He wrote that Cuba would never join the organization, which has "a history that collects all the trash of 60 years of betrayal of the people of Latin America," and accused it of causing the deaths of "hundreds of thousands of people" through its aggressive policies.

The OAS "has not provided a single service to our peoples; it is the incarnation of betrayal," Castro wrote.

Castro's younger brother Raul officially became Cuba's president in February 2008, after Fidel ceded power in July 2006 following intestinal surgery.



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