US President Barack Obama has won praise for offering to develop closer ties with Latin American and Caribbean leaders. His counterparts also urged him to end the US trade embargo against Cuba.
Obama, in Tinidad and Tobago’s capital Port of Spain for his first Summit of the Americas, has promised an era of better cooperation and offered a new start to relations with communist-led Cuba, which pleased Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, normally a fierce critic of American foreign policy. “We’ve started talking with Obama and I think it’s a good start,” he said. “We’ve started taking some good steps. Lula (The Brazilian President Liz Inacio Lula da Silva) said something very true: that we can’t imagine a new Summit of the Americas without Cuba.” Chavez said he was now ready to send an ambassador back to Washington. He expelled the US envoy in Caracas in solidarity with Bolivia last September. America reciprocated. Bolivia’s President, Evo Morales, who also expelled the US ambassador in La Paz last year, said Cuba had the “support of the entire world” as a result of the trade embargo and it was now time to lift it completely.