President Barack Obama pressed on US policy toward Cuba by other leaders from the Americas, on Sunday voiced hope for a transition to democracy in the region's only one-party system state.
The fact of the matter is Cuba, unlike the other countries participating, has not yet moved to democracy. Has not yet observed basic human rights, Obama told a news conference. I am hopeful that a transition begins to take place inside of Cuba.
I and the American people will welcome the time when the Cuban people have the freedom to live their lives, choose their leaders, and fully participate in this global economy and international institutions, Obama stressed.
But he added: We haven't gotten there yet.
US and Canadian opposition to Cuba's participation in the Summit of the Americas created a rift at the meeting in the Colombian city of Cartagena, prompting leaders to end the talks without issuing a final statement.
Obama stressed that his position has not changed.
My position on Cuba has been consistent. It hasn't wavered... It didn't change after I was elected for president. It hasn't changed now, Obama said.
He expressed frustration that other countries which had known the oppression of dictatorships.... and have suffered for it should not understand his position.
Why we would ignore that same principle here?” Obama asked.
After 50 years of US diplomatic confrontation with Cuba that has not ended the regime in Havana, many Latin leaders, including conservative governments such as those in Mexico, Colombia and Chile, are baffled by continued US refusal to change failed policy toward Cuba, the United States' next door neighbor.