Prior to the Summit of the Americas, President Barack Obama wrote an Op-Ed piece that ran in Caribbean and Latin American newspapers, as well as the St. Petersburg Times and Miami Herald.
Published in English, Spanish and Portuguese, the piece was entitled
Choosing a Better Future in the Americas
According to the White House Press office the piece ran in:
La Nación (Argentina)
O Globo (Brazil)
El Mercurio (Chile)
El Tiempo (Colombia)
La Nación (Costa Rica)
El Comercio (Ecuador)
El Universal (México)
El Comercio (Perú)
El Nuevo Día (Puerto Rico)
El País (Uruguay)
El Nacional (Venezuela)
It was also published in the Trinidad Express.
I like the opening sentences (my bold):
As we approach the Summit of the Americas, our hemisphere is faced with a clear choice. We can overcome our shared challenges with a sense of common purpose, or we can stay mired in the old debates of the past. For the sake of all our people, we must choose the future.
Too often, the United States has not pursued and sustained engagement with our neighbors. We have been too easily distracted by other priorities, and have failed to see that our own progress is tied directly to progress throughout the Americas. My Administration is committed to the promise of a new day. We will renew and sustain a broader partnership between the United States and the hemisphere on behalf of our common prosperity and our common security.
While the US Press practically ignores what is happening at the Summit, and even left and liberal blogs focus on tea-bags and Texas, Latin American and Caribbean papers are dedicated to full-coverage of the events.
Trinidad and Tobago’s Newsday has ongoing photo coverage.
Highlighted events in the press outside the US were the opening remarks by Argentina’s president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner who stated in her speech:
that the Trinidad and Tobago summit “should be the first step for a new regional order” and recalled the previous summit in Argentina had signaled “an inflection point for the continent.”
Among the paradoxes Ms Kirchner mentioned the expulsion of Cuba from OAS (Organization of American States) in 1962 with the argument it had adhered to Marxism-Leninism, which allegedly violated the principle of hemispheric unity consecrated in the TIAR (Inter-American Reciprocal Assistance Treaty). “Which in 1982 did not prevent aggression on Argentina from a country not belonging to the hemisphere and no TIAR doctrine was enforced,” in reference to the United Kingdom and the Falkland Islands war. She added that now the “great challenge was integration and the non interference in our countries affairs” and ensuring “the region’s economies can count with the instruments that can help with sustainability.”
Mrs Kirchner also called for a quick refunding of multilateral organizations such as the Inter American Development Bank so “with different plans we can award continuity and sustainability to the expansion of our emerging economies.”
Prime Minister Patrick Manning of Trinidad and Tobago, also addressed the issue of Cuba:
He said, “All of us would like to see a proper reintegration of Cuba into the institutions of the western hemisphere.” The crowd clapped.
He said Obama’s recent statements, including those made last evening, were reason for great optimism. Manning said, “We look forward to the day and I look forward to the day when Cuba can take its rightful place among its colleagues in the hemisphere.”
He did not take any side in the debate as to whether Cuba should first reform itself before rejoining the region. Manning then urged,”And so my dear friends, it will be a mistake if we allowed any one issue to dominate our deliberations.” He said the summit has three important matters on the agenda, referring to economy, ecology and energy. “It would be a tragedy if we allow any one issue to be a great source of discord among us. It will be an error of existential proportions if we are unable to conduct our business on the basis of cordiality and mutual respect.”
Manning urged the leaders not to fail their people in their hour of need by lacking the maturity to conduct business in a rational and objective manner.
“And let this Fifth Summit of the Americas be the first in a new approach that heralds in the western hemisphere the dawn of a new and brighter and better day. God bless you all.” The audience gave loud and sustained applause.
The Trinidad and Tobago Newsday article also covered his humorous quip to Evo Morales and Obama’s reaction, as well as his more serious remarks:
Manning, who received a standing ovation at the start of the ceremony, had begun on a cordial note by inviting Bolivian President Evo Morales, who has just come off a five-day hunger strike over electoral laws, to taste some doubles at Debe or Curepe Junction, following his previous quip to Newsday that the dishes of crab and callaloo, corn soup, and bake and shark should “set him right.” Morales did not seem to understand the offer, but Obama was heartily amused. Manning also addressed serious issues. He wondered how the one trillion US dollars pledged at the recent G20 meeting in London was going to be distributed, and whether the region would get its fair share as opposed to just Europe. He lamented that Caribbean states whose independence was predicated on their continued access to European markets were now losing these preferences under the Economic Partnership Agreement.
Manning warned that while the hemisphere has abundant oil and natural gas supplies, any improper relations between countries could make nuclear energy more attractive and create risks of nuclear proliferation. He urged more use of preventative healthcare, rather than costly treatment.
For those of you who might be interested in coverage from the region here are some links:
Jagdeo leads Regional heads talks with Obama
– Guyanese head-of-state chosen by colleagues to lead region in discussions on several wide-ranging issues
Caricom reiterates lifting of restrictions
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – Jamaica’s Prime Minister Bruce Golding says the Caribbean Community (Caricom) has reiterated its support for the re-entry of Cuba into all hemispheric engagements, as well as the removal of the embargo imposed by the United States.
At the same time, Golding said that arising from yesterday’s caucus meeting of Caricom heads, at the 5th Summit of the Americas here, the region would not be taking a confrontational approach on the issues concerning Cuba.
“I want to urge other leaders in the hemisphere… let the good not be the enemy of the best. We have made more progress in the last 90 days than has been made in the last 50 years in terms of trying to return to a normal relationship between the United States and Cuba. It is a process. It is not something that is going to happen by some act of Congress, or some executive order, or some resolution that we may think we can pass at the Summit,” Golding said.
Speaking to reporters following yesterday’s morning’s caucus of Caricom heads, Golding said the lifting of restrictions against Cuba would depend on the leadership of both cou
ntries, their willingness to sit down and talk and their willingness to be informed in their approach, and not by the history of the past but by the promise of the future.
The Haitian Press highlighted Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to Port au Prince:
La Secrétaire d’Etat américaine est arrivée à Port-au-Prince ce jeudi. Au cours de sa troisième visite en Haïti, Hillary Clinton a renouvelé l’engagement des Etats-Unis envers le pays tout en souhaitant le bon déroulement des prochaines sénatoriales.
La secrétaire d’Etat américaine a d’abord rappelé les liens amicaux et historiques entre Haïti et les Etats-Unis avant de parler de son intervention à la conférence des bailleurs qui s’est tenue à Washington le 14 avril.
Have a taste of some patties and callaloo this morning.
(cross posted to Daily Kos)