Argentine President Cristina Fernández left the 6th Summit of the Americas held in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, before the official closing meeting allegedly in protest against a lack of regional support for Argentina’s claims in the Falklands/Malvinas dispute with the UK.
The president attended the official closing photo session of the summit with the other heads of state still present at the meeting to then rapidly abandon the facilities and head to the international airport.
According to Colombian media network Radio Caracol, “The Argentine president declined to participate in the final private meeting of the presidents and went directly to the airport of Cartagena.”
Colombian journalists assured that Fernández de Kirchner’s behaviour comes in response to the lack of consensus on support to Argentina’s sovereignty claim over the Falklands/Malvinas and other South Atlantic Islands, a topic not included in the summit’s final report.
The summit had already been marred by a lack of consensus on the Cuban issue with Latin America countries opposing the decades-old US embargo policy on Cuba.
Several countries put pressure on Barack Obama to end the ban, as the US president continued to be plagued by a US secret service scandal involving prostitutes.
The Colombian media reported that the collapse of the summit was no surprise since there was complete disagreement about signing a final statement but the nail in the coffin came when Cristina Kirchner stormed out of the summit followed by Bolivia’s Evo Morales.
“Cristina Fernandez was furious, we are told, because of the lack of full, complete support for Argentina’s claim of Falkland Islands sovereignty” according to news agencies.
“We understand she was very, very angry that other leaders didn’t even mention the dispute over the Islands with the UK,” and furthermore she was overheard saying, “This is pointless. Why did I even come here?’”
“All countries in Latin America and the Caribbean support Cuba and Argentina, yet two countries (US and Canada) refuse to discuss it” Bolivia’s president Morales said referring to widespread support for Argentina’s claims to sovereignty over the Falkland Islands. Morales said: ”How is it possible that Cuba is not present in the Summit of the Americas? What sort of integration are we talking about if we are excluding Cuba?“
Although there were widespread hopes for a rapprochement with Cuba under Obama when he took office, Washington has done little beyond ease some travel restrictions, saying democratic changes must come on the island before any further steps can be taken.
Obama has not spoken of Cuba in Colombia, though he did complain that Cold War-era issues, some dating from before his birth, were hindering perspectives on regional integration.
“Sometimes I feel as if in some of these discussions, or at least the press reports, we’re caught in a time warp, going back to the 1950s and gunboat diplomacy and Yankees and the Cold War, and this and that and the other,” the 50-year-old Obama said. “That’s not the world we live in today.”