Media Center

Press Release


  June 24, 2009

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, expressed his satisfaction on the political willpower shown by Member States during the 39th General Assembly in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, which ended the suspension of Cuba from the institution.

“It was a difficult decision,” Mr. Insulza acknowledged at a conference organized by the Inter-American Dialogue, a well-known “think tank” in Washington, DC.

Mr. Insulza reminded the audience that at the OAS “all countries participate with the same rights and the same duties.” “From the point of view of this principle, Cuba is a member of the OAS as long as it is willing to have the same rights and the same obligations as the other countries”, he added, and explained it with a graphic example: “The lock is off, the door is not open. The resolution says how you open the door, and there is only one door”.

Representatives from all 34 Member States in attendance at the General Assembly unanimously agreed on revoking the resolution adopted on January 31, 1962, at the Eighth Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, which excluded the Government of Cuba from its participation in the Inter-American system.

The 34 Heads of Delegation also decided in the same document that “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, and in accordance with the practices, purposes, and principles of the OAS.”

Secretary General Insulza stressed that “how historic the resolution will be, it will depend on what Cuba is willing to do and what the other countries are willing to accept.” He also highlighted that the aforementioned rights and obligations are “not a new condition, it’s not like somebody invented a new gadget to keep Cuba out.”

“In fact, everybody knows that the return of Cuba would take a few weeks if they were willing clearly to say that they are willing to abide by the same obligations and the same responsibilities,” he added, and mentioned specifically the OAS Charter.

The maximum representative of the OAS also called for calm regarding new developments, because the process will be slow. “Fortunately things have quieted down since the days of the assembly, because at the beginning everybody wanted to know what was going to happen that week. Nothing is going to happen this week, next week or the next one,” he said. “I don’t think we will have any new movement in the case of Cuba until the Cuban government decides to makes some move,” he added.

Analyzing what happened in San Pedro Sula, the Secretary General emphasized the role played by the United States under the administration of President Barack Obama. “What the US did at that meeting is exactly what the President said that they were going to do from now on: engage Latin America, do policy all together.”

Reference: E-206/09