President Obama at this weekend’s Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia defied Latin American leftists and the AFL-CIO, which means, all in all, he had a pretty good summit.
The United States insisted that Fidel Castro be excluded from the proceedings, and Obama stuck to his guns.
We have discussed in the OAS the pathway whereby Cuba can fully participate in some of these regional forums. But the fact of the matter is, is that Cuba, unlike the other countries that are participating, has not yet moved to democracy, has not yet observed basic human rights.
He even got a little prickly, failing to, shall we say, bow to other world leaders.
I am sometimes puzzled by the degree to which countries that themselves have undergone enormous transformations, that have known the oppression of dictatorship, or have found themselves on the wrong side of a ruling elite and have suffered for it — why we would ignore that same principle here.
Obama’s resistance to pressure from other Latin American Americans to lighten up on Castro resulted in vows by some that they would stay away next time if the summit didn’t include Fidel. Leftists like Ecuador President Rafael Correa and Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega made welcome protest moves to avoid this conference.
Meanwhile, Obama determined that Colombia has improved its labor right behavior, allowing the Colombia free trade agreement to take effect next month.
The protectionist AFL-CIO, which says Colombian labor leaders continue to be killed with impunity, strenuously objects.
Obama even, for the time being, broke his habit of prejudging investigations, as he did when he said Trayvon Martin looks like the son he never had.
He declined to comment on the probe into whether his security detail was rolling in the hotel hay with prostitutes prior to his arrival.
I think I’ll wait until the full investigation is completed before I pass final judgment.
Well, not quite, I guess. Notice he’ll wait before passing “final judgment,” which means he’s reached an “initial judgment,” and given that the agents were thrown out of the country, I can guess what it is.