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Miami Herald: Don't readmit Cuba, Miami exiles to urge OAS
By Frances Robles

Following Cuba's acceptance of a U.S. request to restart immigration talks, a Miami exile group opposes reintegration of Cuba into the Organization of American States.

BY FRANCES ROBLES/ frobles@MiamiHerald.com

In the 30 years since former Cuban rebel commander Huber Matos got out prison, he has been to countless international conferences, summits and soirees to protest against the Cuban government he helped bring to power.

The 90-year-old activist and blogger is a member of a Miami delegation that on Monday will have him once again, he says, shouting into the wind. He will be at the Organization of American States general assembly in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, to publicly oppose the growing -- and some say unstoppable -- movement to allow his homeland back into the hemispheric group.

Matos' opposition follows Sunday's announcement by the State Department that Cuba has accepted an Obama administration request to resume talks on legal immigration of Cubans to the United States and direct mail service between the two countries.

Cuba's readmission to the OAS is expected to be taken up by the 34 active member states during the group's 39th regular session Tuesday and Wednesday in Honduras. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be representing the United States.

''You go there to present the Cuban problem to the general public,'' Matos said. ''But really you know that they are hypocrites, that there is little loyalty to principles, and that you are not going to get anything out of it.'' Why go?

``You have to be there to tell your truth.''


For the first time in the 47 years since Cuba's membership was suspended from the OAS, more and more Latin American leaders are insisting the communist nation be brought back into the hemispheric fold. Cuba's advocates -- in this case led by Nicaragua and Honduras -- say the 1962 resolution that pushed Cuba out is anachronistic, because it was tied to Cuba's alliance to the former Soviet Union.

Nation after nation has pressed for Havana to be let back in, despite public assurances by the Castros that they are not interested.

What's more, the OAS approved a clause to its charter eight years ago that calls for democratic principles. Critics of allowing Cuba's reintegration to the hemispheric organization argue that the OAS Inter-American Democratic Charter should prevent Cuba's inclusion, even if the 1962 suspension was tied to Cuba's allegiance to a nation that no longer exists and seems like a Cold War relic.

The United States appears to be the only nation that agrees.

The U.S. State Department proposed that the OAS study the issue and report back in a year to determine how Cuba could be readmitted and follow the organization's charter.

The communist government notified Washington on Saturday that it had accepted an administration overture made May 22 to restart the immigration talks, suspended by President George W. Bush after the last meeting in 2003. Cuba also expressed a willingness to cooperate with the United States on fighting terrorism and drug trafficking, and on hurricane disaster preparedness, the State Department confirmed.

A State Department official, who spoke to reporters in Washington just before Clinton left on the trip to Central America, said the Cuban response was a positive development and ''clear signal'' that the administration and the Havana government are willing to engage, The Associated Press reported.

During the two-day OAS gathering, it remains unclear whether the last-minute resolution by Washington will be enough to derail a fast-tracked effort by other OAS nations to embrace Cuba. Two other resolutions were submitted that would readmit Cuba to the group immediately.

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