Friday, February 17, 2012

Summitry punditry

Eric Farnsworth says the U.S. needs to exclude Cuba from the Summit of the Americas.

Andres Oppenheimer says let Cuba come and then grill its government.

I don't have strong feelings on the matter, though I feel sympathetic to the grilling view. Boz argues that the grilling option could lead to an ALBA walk out, but I think walking away while complaining about democracy won't leave ALBA countries looking too good. Same goes with talk of the boycott.

For now, the official position of the U.S. is no.

"The countries of the Americas, by consensus at the 2001 Quebec Summit, made clear the Summit process is open only to democratic countries," the U.S. Embassy in Bogota said in an emailed statement Thursday. "The U.S. supports that shared commitment and looks forward to the day when a democratic Cuba takes its rightful seat at a Summit of the Americas. Sadly, that day has not yet come."

That's rather hard to back off from, unless perhaps you tweak the definition of "Summit process." One problem is that even Colombia is open to the idea of including Cuba. Increasingly, the U.S. finds itself with no allies when it comes to Cuba.

Allowing Cuba to attend in some capacity while also making it known that grilling will occur is perhaps a way to compromise a bit while not giving up on the idea that democracy matters.  On the other hand, this is a presidential election year and Florida matters, so Obama will feel a lot of pressure not to relent.


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