In a June 3 statement on the website of the US State Department, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that “Cuba can come back into the OAS in the future if the OAS decides that its participation meets the purposes and principles of the organization, including democracy and human rights.” The announcement came the day after Clinton had departed the OAS meeting in Honduras for Egypt and 5 days after an article in the Cuban Communist Party Diario Granma had referred to the organization as a “pestilente cadáver,” terminology that might have been used more reservedly given the present condition of Fidel Castro.
Barack Obama proved more judicious in his choice of vocabulary in Cairo, where instead of referring to Hosni Mubarak as a pestilent corpse he commended him for his decades of experience. Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez meanwhile categorized the OAS as merely as anachronistic organization, despite claims by Clinton that the decision to allow Cuba back in focused on the future rather than the past.
Rodríguez’s perspective had emerged at the end of the May meeting in Caracas of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) and had included the argument that the OAS was hampering the process of Latin American integration sin presencia extracontinental. Hugo Chávez would soon increase efforts at Latin American integration by announcing Ecuador’s ALBA debut before said debut was announced by Rafael Correa; as for prospects of presencia extracontinental, these increased with the announcement by the Israeli Foreign Ministry that Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon would be present at the OAS meeting in Honduras.
Ayalon’s scheduled attendance at the event was described as an attempt to strengthen economic ties with Latin America and to combat Iranian influence in the region, despite the fact that the Deputy Foreign Minister of Iran was not planning to attend. In an interview conducted in Brazil and appearing on the website of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Ayalon listed indications of extra-continental infiltration such as that there were flights from Caracas to Tehran via Damascus, but assured Brazilians that El Al now had direct flights to Sao Paolo and Rio, among other destinations.
Also advertised in the Ayalon interview was Israel’s readiness for peace, for which settlements were “not really an obstacle”; other conflicting information appeared in today’s AP report entitled “US wins clout with OAS deal on Cuba, experts say,” in which the body of the report conceded that “regional experts do not believe the U.S. change of position at the OAS signals any real shift in policy.”