Friday, June 3, 2016

Venezuela crisis set to dominate Caribbean summit in Cuba

Venezuela crisis set to dominate Caribbean summit in Cuba
June 3, 2016

HAVANA (Reuters) - Leaders of Caribbean countries are set to arrive in
Cuba on Friday to attend a regional summit where Venezuela's embattled,
socialist government will seek support as opposition at home and abroad

The summit comes days after the head of the Organization of American
States called an urgent meeting to discuss whether Venezuela was
violating democratic norms, paving the way for a vote that could suspend
it from the body.

A majority of the 25 states that are members of the Association of
Caribbean States, or ACS, receive subsidized fuel from Venezuela under
its Petrocaribe oil program that Caracas uses to wield influence in the

"Venezuela will denounce to the ACS the most recent aggression carried
out by the general secretary of the OAS, Luis Almagro," Venezuela's
ambassador to Cuba, Alí Rodríguez, was quoted as saying in local media.

Venezuela's government is facing an opposition push at home for a
referendum to recall President Nicolas Maduro as well as a shift
throughout Latin America away from leftist populism to more conservative

Venezuela, Communist-ruled Cuba and other leftist allies like Bolivia
have railed against "imperialist" efforts to regain control over the region.

Last year, U.S. President Barack Obama attended a Caribbean summit
seeking to reassert U.S. leadership in the region, after launching an
energy initiative seeking to wean it off cut-rate Venezuelan oil.

The official agenda of the seventh ACS summit includes discussions about
trade, transport and sustainable tourism as well as strategies to combat
climate change.

Seventeen countries have confirmed their heads of state will be
attending, the ACS said.

Colombia on Thursday confirmed President Juan Manuel Santos would not be
attending, dashing hopes he might announce a bilateral ceasefire with
the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, this weekend.

His government has been in peace talks with the guerrilla group in
Havana for the past three years.

The summit officially takes place on Saturday, while Cuba will host a
dinner for the heads of state at the Palace of the Revolution on Friday,
which is also President Raul Castro's 85th birthday.

(Reporting by Sarah Marsh and Nelson Acosta; Editing by Peter Cooney)

Source: Venezuela crisis set to dominate Caribbean summit in Cuba -

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