Finally, our shift in policy towards Cuba comes at a moment of renewed leadership in the Americas. This April, we are prepared to have Cuba join the other nations of the hemisphere at the Summit of the Americas. But we will insist that civil society join us so that citizens, not just leaders, are shaping our future.For many countries in South and Central America, Cuba remained the "flash-point" that recalled the way their efforts toward independence from corporate-fueled colonization were treated simply as proxies in our Cold War against communism. Much of what has been wrong about U.S. foreign policy in the modern era was played out on that stage.
And I call on all my fellow leaders to give meaning to the commitment to democracy and human rights at the heart of the inter- American charter. Let us leave behind the legacy of both colonization and communism, the tyranny of drug cartels, dictators and sham elections.
A future of greater peace, security and democratic development is possible, if we work together, not to maintain power, not to secure vested interests, but instead to advance the dreams of our citizens...
Todos somos Americanos.
President Obama's announcement today allows that flash-point to be quelled. It is a clearing out of the debris of the past that allows the doors of possibility to swing wide open. I'll be fascinated to see the results at the Summit of the Americas next April.