The Americas summit has closed without agreement on a final declaration – but that will not overshadow the positive feeling radiating from two days of charm from the US President in Port of Spain Trinidad.
And Barack Obama told a post summit press conference that dialogue was in the interests of the United States: “Here in this hemisphere I think as a consequence of a summit like this it becomes much easier for our friends, countries like Mexico or Columbia that are stallwart partners with us on issues like drug trafficking, it becomes much easier for them to work with us because their neighbours and their populations see us a force for good.” Obama was criticised by some South American leaders for not announcing an immediate end to the US embargo on Cuba, but Obama defended a gradual approach. “The fact that you had Raoul Castro say he is willing to have his government discuss with ours not just issues of lifting the embargo but issues of human rights, political prisoners, that’s a sign of progress.” Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa was one of those whose disapproval prevented agreement on a final declaration from the 34 heads of state present. “The final document doesnt talk about Cuba,” he observed. “Nor does it propose a comprehensive solution for the immigration problem, so it’s a light document typical of protocol.” Many of his South American counterparts welcomed the arrival of a new era of dialogue, while calling for the promises of cooperation to be translated into concrete measures. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was so upbeat that he suggested the next summit be held in Havana.