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7th Summit of the Americas; Historical Obama-Castro Meet
Apr 15, 2015

The Seventh Summit of the Americas took place in Panama City, Panama on 10-11 April. The central theme of the summit was Prosperity with Equity: The Challenge of Cooperation in the Americas, within which member countries discussed several issues, like education, health, energy, environment, migration, security, citizen participation and democratic governance.

The Summit, which occurs every three years, offers the opportunity for countries to jointly define a hemispheric agenda at the highest level to address urgent challenges and propel positive change.

Highlights

  • The US President Barack Obama highlighted the commitment of the United States to upholding the essential role independent civil society and the private sector play in contributing to a shared democratic agenda that benefits all of the people of the Americas.

  • U.S. President Barck Obama met Cuban President Raul Castro in the highest-level talks between the two countries in nearly 60 years. 

  • USA and Cuba agreed to push ahead on improving relations after decades of hostility.

  • Obama said he decided to overturn longstanding U.S. policy on Cuba because the old approach of open hostility and economic sanctions had failed to force through major changes on the island and it was time to try something new. Since then, he has relaxed some restrictions on travel and trade with Cuba.

  • Castro said he would continue to take steps toward normalizing relations with the US, and was open to discussing human rights and other issues.

  • The last time the leaders of the two countries held a substantive meeting was in 1956, when Dwight Eisenhower was U.S. president and Fulgencio Batista was the U.S.-backed dictator in power in Havana. That meeting was also held in Panama.

  • The Castro brothers (Fidel and Raul) toppled Batista in a revolution on January 1, 1959 and after that relations between the United States and Cuba quickly deteriorated. 

  • Fidel Castro became a Cold War ally of the Soviet Union and the rivalries took the world to the brink of a nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis in October, 1962.

 


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