[Excelsior, Mexico]



El Mundo, Colombia

Obama: A Man Who Takes His Promises Seriously


"By trying new methods for solving old problems, Obama wishes to fulfill his promises and get the pendulum of history to swing. ... He permits us a glimmer of hope that a new stage of collaboration is dawning with a region that will be his partner in global affairs."


By Eugenio Prieto


Translated By Paula van de Werken


April 19, 2009


Colombia - El Mundo - Original Article (Spanish)

In a meeting of great significance to Latin Americans, President Obama greets President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, at the Fifth Summit of the Americas, April 18.


BBC NEWS VIDEO: U.S. neighbors seem to be taking Obama's call for a new start seriously, Apr. 19, 00:01:56 RealVideo

Only personal consistency allows men like U.S. President Barack Obama to carry out their political commitments.


Among others, the actions he took to confront the current global crisis and the decision he made to allow Cuban-Americans to move forward in their relations with those who remain on the island are good examples. "This isn't charity," Obama said at the Fifth Summit of the Americas, now taking place in Trinidad and Tobago, perhaps referring to the reaction of Raul Castro, who said, "Cuba doesnt need alms."


The way Obama has placed a priority on human rights and relations with Cuba are demonstrations that the actions of his government can and will be fully consistent with the proposals he made as a candidate. In other words, as a candidate, he offered what was possible, thus going against the tradition of false promises. And he committed himself to being respectful of the confidence placed in him by the people, for whom he would exert himself to the utmost. This implies a profound break from tradition, which was maintained by the force of inertia and the habits of bureaucrats.


These actions of President Obama were preceded by another landmark decision: the closing of the Guantanamo prison, a structure that by keeping terrorism suspects prisoner without providing the accused with fair and speedy trials, offended the democratic principles of respect for freedom and human dignity. Therefore, Obama's gesture has enormous value, as does his call to the Cuban regime to do likewise in order to knit together a new bilateral relationship: "we should loosen up restrictions on travel and remittances. We have now acted on that But Cuba has to take some steps, send some signals when it comes to human rights, when it comes to political rights," he said Wednesday [April 15] to Colombian journalist Juan Carlos Lopez, who interviewed the president for CNN Espanol.


These positions, taken before his first trip to Latin America for the Fifth Summit of the Americas - a summit that since its first meeting has vetoed the subject of Cuba - show how far President Obama is ready to go, in order to carry out his campaign promises. As he does when he says, "we cannot let ourselves be prisoners of past disagreements." Again - by trying new methods for solving old problems, he wishes to fulfill his promises and get the pendulum of history to swing. That opposing parties havent always acted as expected hasn't been a bar to this innovative leader, who can build bridges and effectively call on others in the region, and who can overcome custom and tradition so that new and increasingly democratic practices can be established.




[El Tiempo, Colombia]


Almost certain that his words wouldn't be heard from his award-winning blog Generation Y, philologist Yoani Sanchez wrote what many Cubans, disenchanted with communism but hopeful for their island, want of Raul Castro: "The ball that we would like you to get rolling is to expand space for citizen initiatives, allow free association, and - in a gesture that would encapsulate your political uprightness - put your position up for genuinely popular election."


We hope that the Castro brothers are open enough to understand the meaning of this transformational change; and that they're prepared to build a new model for relations based on neither totalitarianisms nor fundamentalisms and which is an outgrowth of the democratic opening demanded by a new generation of Cubans and is so hoped-for by the world. Will Cuba be capable, within a framework of respect for human rights and freedom of expression, of advancing toward a democracy that breaks the ideological polarization that for over fifty years has kept it in a vicious cycle in its relations with the United States? We dont know the answer. But in any case, there is a glimmer of hope that Obama has taken up one of the great challenges of his administration - the beginning of the end of the economic embargo against Cuba.


Today in the Port of Spain, in Trinidad and Tobago, the Fifth Summit of the Americas will culminate with a call for continent-wide cooperation which for the first time, brings President Obama together with Latin American counterparts.


By its development, we have confidence in the revitalization of the institution as a setting for negotiating a regional framework in which political and economic cooperation useful to the countries of the continent can be realized.



Cuban dictator Raul Castro has responded to U.S. overtures

by saying Cuba is willing to discuss anything and everything

with the U.S. - as long as talks come 'without precondition'

in a spirit of equality.



I dont think that a reconditioning of relations will change Washington's position of power in regard to Latin America. But I believe that the attitude of President Obama, his acceptance of responsibility for drug consumption and weapons trafficking, his proposal to reconsider U.S. anti-drug policies for Latin America and offer an alliance of equals, permits us a ray of hope that a new stage of collaboration is dawning with a region that will be his partner in global affairs. But only if it can comprehend how to knit together a community respectful of diversity and open to constant dialog. This is a perspective embodied by him and practiced by a new generation of political leaders and children of hope, demonstrated by a desire for negotiation and a recognition of the plurality of the world.













































[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US April 21, 6:09am]