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OAS postpones meeting to debate Cuba after Caricom countries threaten boycott

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Posted: Friday, July 30, 2021. 10:38 am CST.

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: The Organization of American States (OAS) postponed the Council meeting to debate the situation in Cuba after 13 CARICOM countries, Belize included, said they would boycott the meeting if the OAS went ahead with it.

The OAS made the announcement on Wednesday the same day the Council was to have met virtually to discuss the situation in Cuba.

Thirteen Caribbean Community (Caricom) countries raised concerns about the procedure used to convene the special meeting and wrote to the Chair of the Council, Washington Abdala, on July 27 said the Jamaica Observer.

“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,” said the CARICOM countries’ letter stated. They reportedly also asked for their letter to be distributed to all members countries.

The 13 countries said that the convocation of the meeting which was done without consultation “would be unproductive and would serve no useful purpose.”

The letter signed by the Antigua and Barbuda’s Permanent Representative, Sir Ronald Sanders, said their stance reiterated the position that had previously been taken by Antigua and Barbuda.

“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 said that though the OAS has tried to get Cuba to rejoin, it’s up to Cuba to do so.

“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,” said the letter.

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.

The Chair of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States said that it was postponing the meeting after interventions were received from countries and that it had requested the Secretariat for Legal Affairs of the Organization to provide a report on the situation in Cuba.

“The events in Cuba do not admit of delays. We are talking about deprivations of the liberty of hundreds and of impact on human rights, and we have a moral obligation not to look away from and ignore these needs. The clock is ticking for the protection of human rights and the lives of many. It would seem inappropriate to fail to address this situation. It would be meet to act swiftly,” said the OAS letter to the permanent missions.

The OAS said it intends to have the meeting in the coming days.

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