As reported by AP via MSNBC
, the Organization of American States, on the heels of US talk to normalize relations with Cuba after over 45 years, has lifted its ban on the island nation in anticipation of its return to the group.
The Organization of American States on Wednesday lifted a decades-old ban on Cuba's participation in the group and cleared the way for the island's return despite initial U.S. objections.
The vote by acclamation to revoke a 1962 measure suspending Cuba from the hemispheric group toppled an enduring landmark of the Cold War, and made clear that Latin American nations are forging a more independent relationship with the United States.
Due to Cuba's oppressive human rights record since the installation of Fidel Castro's regime, the move comes amid heated debate in the US and abroad. The AP goes on:
U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Florida Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the vote only appeased Cuba.
"Now we know where the priorities of the OAS lie," the Cuba-born Ros-Lehtinen said in a statement. "Rather than upholding democratic principles and fundamental freedoms, OAS member states, led by the OAS Secretary General, could not move quickly enough to appease their tyrannical idols in Cuba.
"Today's decision by the OAS is an affront to the Cuban people and to all who struggle for freedom, democracy, and fundamental human rights," she added.
U.S. Representatives Lincoln Diaz-Balart and Mario Diaz-Balart, also Cuba-born Florida Republicans, called the vote "a putrid embarrassment" and said it showed the Obama Administration's "absolute diplomatic incompetence and its unrestricted appeasement of the enemies of the United States."
Whether normalized relations between the US and Cuba shall include Cuban human rights reforms remains to be seen. Nonetheless, Cuba is seen as an island destination by millions interested both in it's geographical features and it's cultural charms.