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Cuba Says No to OAS Membership


Cuba is declining to rejoin the Organization of American States, but calls the group's decision to lift a 47-year suspension against it a "major victory."

Cuban National Assembly President Ricardo Alarcon told journalists in Havana Thursday the organization's decision to lift the 1962 suspension does not alter what Cuba thought yesterday or the day before.

Before the OAS decision, Cuba said it had no interest in resuming its membership.

The OAS said Cuba's re-entry would be the result of a "process of dialogue" under the group's "practices, proposals and principles" - an indirect reference to human-rights protections and democracy.

The 34-member group made its decision on the second and final day of its General Assembly in Honduras.

Cuba was suspended because of its communist government and Soviet bloc ties.

Former Cuban President Fidel Castro said in an essay published Wednesday that the OAS was an accomplice to crimes committed against his country.

On Tuesday, before leaving Honduras to join President Barack Obama in Cairo, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on the assembled OAS members to restore Cuba's membership rights only if political prisoners are released and basic human rights are improved.

Clinton said Wednesday that she was pleased with the compromise measure, saying the OAS members showed flexibility and openness and reached a decision that focuses on the future instead of the past.

She said Cuba can return to the OAS in the future if it decides that its participation meets the purposes and principles of the organization, including democracy and human rights.

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