Cuba’s Back

MEXICO CITY – After 47 years, the Organization of American States, at its annual General Assembly, has repealed its suspension of Cuba’s membership. The so-called ALBA countries (the Spanish acronym for the so-called Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas), which includes Cuba, Venezuela, Honduras, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Dominica, and Ecuador, were able partly to outwit – and partly to “out-blackmail” – Canada, the United States, and the Latin American democracies in getting Cuba rehabilitated.

The OAS did, however, lay down two conditions. Cuba must explicitly request reinstatement, and a dialogue must be initiated in accordance with the premises of the OAS Charter and other basic OAS documents, and in consonance with the principles on which those documents are based – most importantly, democracy and respect for human rights.

Like many diplomatic compromises, the outcome left everyone a bit happy and a bit disappointed. Everyone could claim victory, and no one was obliged to acknowledge defeat.

But those compromises are like statistics or skimpy swimsuits: what they show is less important than what they hide. Two fundamental considerations come to mind, and their ramifications in “up-for-grab” countries in Latin America, such as El Salvador, are particularly significant.