Impressions of the 7th Summit of the Americas

By Fernanda Duque Hernández

United States and Cuba under the spotlight.

Meetings, forums and speeches marked the beginning of the 7th Summit of the Americas in Panama City. On the first day, heads of state throughout the continent shared their impressions and expectations on this international encounter, organized to strengthen diplomatic and economic ties between countries in the Americas.

The highlight of the day was the casual encounter of American President, Barack Obama with his Cuban counterpart, Raul Castro. This is the first time the leaders meet face to face since the island restored the diplomatic talks with the U.S. The symbolic greeting took place prior to the inaugural event of the Summit, led by Panama’s president, Juan Carlos Varela.

During Obama’s official visit to Jamaica, the President stated his willingness to take Cuba off the list of state sponsors of terrorism depending on the progression of diplomatic talks and actions with the Island nation throughout the Summit.

7th Summit Americas

Tension at the event lingered with a statement of Bruno Rodriguez, Cuba’s Foreign Affair Minister, who yesterday expressed his country’s disapproval of sanctions and foreign interference of the White House in the politics of Venezuela, a close ally of Cuba.

On the other hand, Mexican president, Enrique Peña Nieto presented Mexico as a possible intermediary in the process of dialogue between Cuba and United States.

President Peña, along with Dilma Rousseff (Brazil), Barack Obama (U.S.) and Juan Carlos Varela (Panama) attended a panel at the Business Forum held by the Inter-American Development Bank, where Obama praised Mexico’s 2013 energy reforms while President Peña pointed out that 70 of Mexico’s foreign investment is in Latin America.

The event is slated to conclude today around 4pm, Panama City time.

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