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HavanaJournal.com: Cuba Politics

Cuban ‘blockade’? U.S. objects to word

Posted October 16, 2005 by mattlawrence in Cuba Politics.
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U.S. diplomats protested the wording of a resolution that called for the United States to end the ‘blockade’ of Cuba.

IBEROAMERICAN SUMMIT

BY CIARAN GILES
Associated Press

SALAMANCA, Spain - Iberoamerican leaders demanded that the United States abide by U.N. resolutions to end its economic blockade against Cuba, as they concluded a two-day summit Saturday with a series of final statements.

The 17 leaders began discussing the Cuban issue at the start of the annual summit, prompting the U.S. Embassy in Madrid to object to the word ‘‘blockade’’ instead of ‘‘embargo.’’ Spanish officials countered that the word ‘‘blockade’’ had been used in U.N. resolutions as well.

‘‘We call on the United States of America to comply with that laid down in 13 successive resolutions approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations, and to bring an end to the economic, trade and financial blockade it maintains against Cuba,’’ one of a set of final statements said.

Foreign ministers had drawn up a similarly worded draft Thursday, irking the U.S. Embassy, which said the draft could be interpreted as a ``kind of support for the dictatorship in Cuba.’‘

On a separate topic, leaders at the summit expressed ‘‘profound condolences for the serious loss of life produced by Hurricane Stan’’ in Central America and Mexico.

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodríguez Zapatero on Friday pledged $65 million in aid to help El Salvador and Guatemala cope with the destruction.

The summit leaders said they would work in the coming year to create a fund so each member nation could contribute toward future catastrophes. They also agreed to set up a rapid-response system to cope with such disasters.

The most notable absence at the summit was that of Cuban leader Fidel Castro, who reportedly stayed home to coordinate hurricane relief aid.

The presidents of El Salvador and Guatemala also missed the summit because of the disaster, while the presidents of Nicaragua and Ecuador were absent for internal political reasons.

The participating leaders agreed to develop a Spanish proposal for countries to cancel their debts with Spain in favor of investment in education. Other Latin American countries were expected to take up the idea between themselves.

In his newly created post as summit secretary general, Enrique Iglesias, former head of the Inter-American Development Bank, said one of the meeting’s most important achievements was to establish a permanent secretariat, which would boost the bloc’s international profile, maintain momentum between summits and try to ensure agreements are followed through.

‘‘From now on the secretariat will be the main voice for the Iberoamerican community,’’ he said.

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