OAS Chief In Miami, Hopes U.S. And Cuba Keep Moving Normalization Ahead

Apr 12, 2016

Luis Almagro is the Secretary General of the Washington-based Organization of American States (OAS). As the head of the largest intergovernmental body in the Americas, Almagro has his eyes on a number of crises these days  not least of which is the possible impeachment of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff this week. But he does see one unusually bright spot in the Americas: The normalization of U.S.-Cuba relations.

And he hopes the two countries keep the ball moving forward.

“It’s definitely a change in the logic of relations between Latin America and the United States," Almagro told WLRN. "It’s a sign of historic maturity and civility. We would like to see...the embargo [lifted] – and to keep working on the necessary economic and social reforms in Cuba.”

Almagro was Uruguay's foreign minister before taking the helm at the OAS last year. He was a marquee speaker this week at the prestigious World Strategic Forum in Coral Gables, hosted by the International Economic Forum of the Americas, which finished today. 

He said another goal is to bring Cuba back into the OAS. The communist island’s OAS membership was suspended in 1962, then restored in 2009. But Havana has so far refused to rejoin.

“We will be able to work with Cuba about some issues that are very relevant for the whole continent and for Cuba itself," Almagro said. Those include, he said, matters "related to democracy and human rights."

Cuba will begin a Communist Party Congress on Saturday, and it may discuss the OAS issue.