Commentary: Allowing Cuba the Opportunity to Rejoin the Organization of American States

By Congresswoman Laura Richardson
37th District

I applaud the decision of the OAS [Organization of American States] to end the misplaced and misguided exclusion of Cuba from its membership. It is long past time that Cuba, and the Cuban people, be reconnected to the community of nations in the Western Hemisphere. It makes little sense to continue a policy put in place in 1962 during the height of a Cold War that has been over for twenty years.
I visited Cuba just two months ago and met personally with President Raul Castro for six hours and former President Fidel Castro for almost two hours. I agree strongly with the international consensus that it is time to end the 50-year Cold War policies and turn the page to a new era of cooperation between the United States and Cuba.
The action [June 3] by the Organization of American States membership reflects a desire to unify the region and create opportunities for collaboration and partnership among all the nations in the Western Hemisphere. Cooperation among the nations of this hemisphere is especially needed to overcome the economic crises we are facing.
It is my hope that the Administration will seize this opportunity and build on the positive actions it has already taken in lifting the ban on travel and easing the restrictions on remittances.

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Fidel Castro with Richardson