President Barack Obama has had a less than successful time at the Americas Summit in Colombia having had to face a barrage of Latin American opposition and a sex scandal among his security.
The unprecedented challenge to the US leader was over Cuba. Obama was forced to justify Washington’s 50-year-old trade embargo on the communist-led island and Havana’s continued exclusion from the talks.
“Cuba, unlike the other countries that are participating, has not yet moved to democracy, has not yet observed basic human rights. I am hopeful that a transition begins to take place inside of Cuba,” explained Obama.
But if Cuba left him defensive, an investigation in to 16 of his security personnel being caught in an embarrassing prostitution scandal also had him on the back foot.
Responding to whether he was angry over the alleged misbehaviour, the president said: “I expect that investigation to be thorough and I expect it to be rigorous. If it turns out that some of the allegations that have been made in the press are confirmed then of course I’ll be angry.”
Obama did leave the two-day summit announcing a US-Columbia free trade agreement would come into force next month. That at least helped him portray the visit as a bid to generate jobs at home. However consensus was missing on other matters.