Monday 16 April 2012

Summit of the Americas: North vs. South

As the Summit of the Americas concluded, it seemed clear that the organization was divided into two camps: Canada and the USA in one, and all other members in the other. Indeed, the division was so obvious that one begins to fear for the life of the organization.

Two issues divide the group:
1. The War on Drugs, and thoughts of legalizing or at least decriminalizing currently-illegal drugs, most notably cocaine and marijuana.
2. The potential admittance of Cuba into the Organization of American States (OAS).

Stances on the first issue come as no surprise. On the second, it's slightly different. The USA is expected to oppose any softening of its embargo, etc., if only to placate the Spanish voters in Florida. Canada, on the other hand, seems determined to play its hypocrisy card: we invest in Cuba, hundreds of thousands of Canadians visit Cuba as tourists, and more. And yet Stephen Harper's government kowtows to the United States regarding membership in the OAS, citing human rights as the main reason, and going so far as to say that when Cuba becomes a democracy, we may reconsider.

Considering the governments in several OAS countries (not to mention trade agreements with China), this stance is laughable at best. It is an embarrassment to the people of Canada, and an embarrassment on the worldwide stage.

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