State: Summit's Commitment to Democracy Should be Upheld

Saturday, September 27, 2014
During a press conference today on "U.S. Priorities in the Western Hemisphere," Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere, Roberta Jacobson, was asked about the possibility of Cuba's participation in next year's Summit of the Americas in Panama.

Her response:

"On the Summit of the Americas, I think we've been pretty clear in our position on the summit, which is that obviously Panama is the host country for the summit, and as the host country they will make the decisions on invitations to that summit. I think the invitations in a formal sense have not yet been made, but we obviously have seen the same commentary that you have. And the fact of the matter is we have said from the start that we look forward to a summit that can include a democratic Cuba at the table. We also have said that the summit process, ever since Quebec in 2001, has made a commitment to democracy, and we think that’s an important part of the summit process. But the decision about invitations is not ours to make, and obviously there’s been no invitations formally issued to the United States and other countries. And so there is no acceptance or rejection yet called for or made."

Asked whether the U.S. might refuse to participate if Cuba attends, Jacobson stated:

"I think you won’t be surprised to hear me say that we’re really not going to answer hypotheticals in the future yet. Obviously, the Summit of the Americas is in April and that’s not a situation that we can answer, although I think we have made clear that we believe the summit process is committed to democratic governance and we think that the governments that are sitting at that table ought to be committed to the summit principles, which include democratic governance. And therefore that’s our position at this point. Obviously, we have a position on Cuba which does not at this point see them as upholding those principles."