Today in Latin America
Top Story — The Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia came to a close on Sunday without a joint declaration due to disagreement over Cuba’s future participation in the summit. A number of Latin American leaders, including Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, said that there would be no more future regional summits under the auspices of the Organization of American States without the participation of Cuba. However, the U.S. and Canada refused to include language in the declaration that would guarantee Cuba’s invitation to future summits. Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa explicitly declined to attend the summit because Cuba was not allowed to participate, while Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega and Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez were also absent. The foreign ministers of Venezuela, Argentina, and Uruguay said they would not sign the resolution if the U.S. and Canada did not remove their vetoes of Cuban participation. The next Summit of the Americas is planned for 2015 in Panama.
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Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Eleven U.S. Secret Service agents were put on leave after they allegedly smuggled prostitutes into their hotel rooms during the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia.
- More than 40 people have been arrested after unwittingly serving as drug mules across the U.S.-Mexico border after responding to want ads in Tijuana for an “important business” organization.
- U.S. President Barack Obama said Saturday in Cartagena that he would address immigration reform in the first year of his second term if re-elected.
- Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi and founder of the Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute, arrived in Haiti to promote nonviolence.
- Dominican authorities said that they arrested a Spanish soldier who boarded a flight to Madrid with bags of cocaine taped to her legs.
- Salvadoran officials said Saturday that the country had its first homicide-free day in almost three years.
- The family of a U.S. citizen Jason Puracal, arrested in Nicaragua in 2010 on drug trafficking and other charges, says that Puracal’s health is deteriorating due to a lack of food and medical treatment.
- Panama may need to re-evaluate the 2014 deadline for the long-awaited expansion of the Panama Canal.
- Swedish construction company Skanska reported on its website Sunday that dozens of its workers kidnapped March 9 in Peru are now free and in “good health”, but did not provide details of their release.
- U.S. President Barack Obama said that a U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement is expected to be in place and fully enforced by May.
- Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner stormed out of the Summit of the Americas in protest of a lack of full support for Argentina’s claim to the Falkland Islands.
- Brazilian police arrested three people suspected of murdering at least two women and using their bodies to make empanadas. The suspects claimed they were obeying voices in their heads.
Image: OEA-OAS @ Flickr.