Canada and the U.S. stand alone on the issue of excluding Cuba from the Summit of the Americas and the two united also against decriminalising drugs. The host country and a U.S. ally Colombia spoke out against excluding Cuba. President Juan Santos said that holding another meeting while excluding Cuba would be unacceptable.
Canada and its faithful ally Canada were the only two countries not to lobby for including Cuba. Interesting that a die hard conservativeand liberal Barack Obama see eye to eye on the matter. At one time Canada developed relations with Cuba in spite of U.S. objections. Even now we do not have travel or trade restrictions as does the U.S. Sherrit Gordon mines has extensive investments in Cuba.
Santos said: "The isolation, the embargo, the indifference, the looking the other way don't work," . "It's an anachronism that keeps us anchored in a Cold War era that was overcome decades ago." No doubt the U.S. position has to do with internal politics and expatriate Cuban voters.Canada's position is probably a function of Harper's wanting to curry favor with the U.S.
President Santos also wanted to have a debate on decriminalizing drugs. Stephen Harper said that he would not entertain any policy changes that would decriminalize drugs. In Canada Harper has consistently opposed even harm reduction strategies such as safe injection sites. Obama also claimed that legalization was not the answer. This liberal president again follows the same policies as our reactionary Canadian prime minister.
Harper waas mainly trying to sell Canada as a good source of natural resources for Latin America's growing economies. He stressed the fact that he has streamlined environmental regulations to make it easier and quicker for projects to be approved.
Of course Harper spins his "reforms" positively:"We cannot allow valid concerns about environmental protection to be used as an excuse to trap worthwhile projects in reviews without end," He also noted that Canadian banks were among the strongest in the world.
Meanwhile Latin American leaders have founded their own group that excludes Canada and the U.S. The group is called the Community of Latin American and Caribbean states. No doubt this will be a competitor to the Summit of the Americas In fact a number of nations have said that they will not even come to the next meeting of the Summit of the Americas if Cuba is still excluded. For more see this article.