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Posted October 19, 2005 by mattlawrence in US Embargo

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The Cuban government called last weekend’s Iberoamerican Summit, with its call to lift the U.S. ‘blockade’ of the island nation a success.


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Cuba is claiming a victory at the Iberoamerican Summit in Spain, with the government-run media boasting that 17 heads of state used the controversial word ‘‘blockade’’ to condemn the U.S. embargo against the communist island.

The summit in Salamanca ended Saturday with a vote to urge Washington to lift the embargo against Cuba, but the declaration used ‘‘blockade,’’ the word Cuba prefers and Washington shuns.

‘‘The Salamanca summit has been a reaffirmation of Cuba in the Latin American context,’’ the Communist Party newspaper Granma said Monday. ``To understand it, Latin America won.’‘

The U.S. State Department was quick to minimize the importance of the summit declaration, stressing that many nations in Europe have repeatedly condemned Cuba’s human rights record.


But even leftist Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodrguez Zapatero distanced himself from what he called the ‘‘false polemic,’’ telling a Spanish radio station the declaration opposing the U.S. sanctions was practically a ``ritual.’‘

‘‘It’s certainly a diplomatic victory for Cuba. There’s no other way to slice it,’’ said Philip Peters, a Cuba expert with the Lexington Institute think tank in Washington. ``To me, the more interesting and important aspect is that this is a demonstration that our allies don’t share our approach toward Cuba and are not bashful about saying so and not bashful about using loaded language.’‘

Cuban leader Fidel Castro did not attend the annual summit this year. Cuban media flaunted press coverage around the Spanish-speaking world—from Mexico to Chile—that it says shows the Latin American nations side with Cuba on the U.S. sanctions.

‘‘I think that, if you look back over the history of such statements from these kinds of summits, this is a common statement . . . a common position that they have held,’’ State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said. ``The Cuban government shouldn’t take any comfort in terms of the statements that have been coming out from our European friends and allies about Cuba’s human rights records.’‘

The Cuban government engages in a constant campaign to denounce the U.S. embargo. At international summits, U.N. meetings and any other international forum to which it is invited, Cuba attacks the embargo as the single greatest cause of the island’s misery.


A recent report by the Cuban government said the island lost $82 billion in trade since sanctions prohibiting commerce with Cuba were first imposed in 1960. Cuba claims it could create 100,000 new jobs and generate $6 billion a year if the embargo was lifted

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