Panama.- Panama cities recovers today from the intense activity lived as the Host of the VII Summit of the Americas, which goes in history as the scenario of the first official meeting between president of Cuba and United States in half a century.Beyond the last week debates through forums on social, youth, business and academic issues, the conclave also will also be remembered as the first time that the 35 countries of the Western Hemisphere sit around the same table.
That figure was completed by Cuba, invited by the Panamanian government after years of complaints of progressive governments in the region, which was excluded from this type of conference opened in 1994 in US territory.
After a formal greeting at the welcome ceremony offered Friday by Juan Carlos Varela, as host president, Raul Castro and Obama shook hands yesterday before the cameras and a group of journalists in one of the halls of the convention center Atlapa in this capital.
Everything can be discussed if it is done with respect to the other side’s ideas, including the issues on which they disagree, stressed the head of state of the Greater Antilles to note that there are many differences in the complicated history between the two countries ‘but we are willing to move forward’.
In the same vein, the head of the White House acknowledged that “after 50 years that there was no change in politics, we have to try something new’ .
It was also the first time the two presidents addressed statements to the press together, then talk privately for about more than an hour, as confirmed.
That exchange tackled the process for the re-establishment of diplomatic relations and the opening of embassies in Havana and Washington and the possibilities of cooperation in various fields.
Shortly before the meeting with Obama, Raul Castro reaffirmed to the Summit that the economic, commercial and financial blockade of the US against Cuba still applies in all its intensity, causes damage and shortages to the people and is the key obstacle to development of the Cuban economy.
He clarified that the current occupant of the White House is not responsible for the implementation of the blockade and labeled him honest man of humble origin and with the courage to confront the Congress in a debate on the removal of the fence to the island.
The Panama meeting also brought the favorable conditions for a brief meeting with president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, amid the Latin American and Caribbean clamor against the decision of the US president to consider the South American country a threat to his national security. (PL)