The Summit of the Americas held its opening remarks session today and two leaders known for public displays of disaffection towards the United States spoke highly of President Obama.
Cuban President Raul Castro used the eight minute remarks to make a fifth minute speech about the Cuban Revolution and how other countries have punished them for it. This was the first year Cuba was a part of the Summit of the Americas. After his emotional rebelling, Castro shifted gears.
He said that President Obama was different than his predecessors, a honest man. Castro attributed this to President Obama’s childhood, which he described as humble. He did not hold President Obama responsible for actions against Cuba. However, Castro blamed the past ten U.S. Presidents for acting against Cuba.
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said that he respected President Obama and looked to talking with him. However, Maduro said that President Obama “has threatened our homeland.” American-Venezuelan relations are at an all-time low as the United States placed sanctions on seven high-ranking Venezuelan officials for what they call human rights abuses.
In a speech, Maduro opened the possibility of normalizing relations with the United States. He said that he has proposed resuming the exchange of ambassadors with the United States, but the American government has not gotten back to him on the proposal.
President Obama did hold a private meeting with President Maduro.
During his remarks, President Obama said, “I’m not interested in having battles that frankly started before I was born.”