Leaders of Spanish and Portuguese speaking nations have begun a two day summit in Spain in which the issues of immigration and Latin American debt will be high on the agenda.
There was a royal welcome from King Juan Carlos and Queen Sophia for the visiting dignitaries arriving in the ancient city of Salamanca. One noticeable absentee from the 15th Ibero-American summit is Cuban president Fidel Castro. It is the fifth successive time he has opted out of such gatherings. Spanish media reported that two anti-Castro groups were planning to file a legal complaint against the communist leader for crimes against humanity. Cuba’s foreign minister said Castro was busy dealing with the island’s medical assistance to central American countries hit by Hurricane Stan. Spanish officials were said to have been expecting he would attend this time, helping to arrest a decline in interest in the event. The delegates are expected to come up with their own hurricane aid package. Measures to ease Latin America’s heavy debt burden will also be discussed. They include a Spanish proposal to swap debt owed to Madrid for commitments to invest in education.