OAS Leaders Vote to Lift Ban on Cuba

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Communist Cuba could be re-admitted into the Organization of American States.  Members from 34 countries have been meeting in Honduras this week.

Wednesday, they voted against the will of the U.S. to allow Cuba to rejoin them after being expelled for almost 50 years.

The vote, however, did not come without debate.

Anti U.S. demonstrators and counter protests by Miami Cubans marked the controversy over Cuba at the Organization of American States annual meeting in Honduras.

Cuba was expelled from the OAS in 1962.  Most Latin countries say it's time to re-admit Cuba, but the U.S. said not so fast.  Secretary of state Hillary Clinton insisted that Cuba must first guarantee basic human rights and adopt Democratic reforms. 

"That is what we are hoping to achieve and we believe that we've made more progress in four months than has been made in a  number of years and that we need to work together to continue that kind of progress, keeping in mind the legitimate aspirations and the human rights of the people of Cuba," she said.

But the U.S. stands almost alone on preconditions for Cuba's OAS membership.  The U.S. has maintained a policy of diplomatic and economic isolation for Cuba for 49 years, and no major changes are expected under the Obama administration.

That's not stopping Latin America's leaders, who urged the 34-nation group to revoke the 1962 OAS resolution that expelled Cuba. 

Ironically, while pressure mounts for re-admitting Cuba to the OAS, the Castro regime rejects the move, saying a new organization for the Americas should be formed without the United States.

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