Gov. Rick Scott on Friday called for the exclusion of "the Cuban dictatorship" from the upcoming Summit of the Americas April 13 and 14 in Lima, Peru.
In a letter to Secretary General Luis Almagro of the Organization of American States, Scott called on Almagro's "commitment to the democracy requirement" in the OAS and the Inter-American Democratic Charter.
"For six decades the sovereignty of the Cuban people has been held hostage by a brutal dictatorship that has incarcerated, tortured and murdered innocent people in order to preserve its reign of oppression and misery over the Cuban people," Scott wrote. "In recent days, we witnessed a fraudulent effort to carry out so-called elections as the dictatorship advances toward a dynastic succession."
Scott pointed out the government of Peru's recent action, rescinding its Summit invitation to Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro to be consistent with the principles of Almagro, who is a Uruguayan. "You have spoken clearly about the need for the Venezuelan government to adhere to the norms (of the charters) in order for it to be able to participate in Inter-American Summits. Therefore Cuba, just like Venezuela, should be denied participation," Scott said.
Scott said Cuba's participation in the Summit "would greatly undermine the admirable work of Cuba's courageous pro-democracy movement on the island and embolden the regime to continue its relentless repression."
Two weeks ago Donald Trump confirmed he would be attending the Summit of the Americas, the only meeting of Western Hemisphere heads of state -- considered an opportunity to advance United States interests in the neighborhood. Trump's participation follows the lead of every United States president since Bill Clinton, who hosted the first such gathering, in Miami in 1994.
But the Trump Administration's rhetoric about “drugs,” “rapists” and “the wall” has clearly resonated south of the border. Views of the United States under Donald Trump have fallen during his presidency. According to a Gallup poll, just 16 percent of Latin Americans approve of the president's job performance -- a rate even lower than his approval rating among Latinos in the United States.
Reach Nancy Smith at email@example.com or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith
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