The Sixth Summit of the Americas will start today with a welcome dinner hosted by President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, for 32 presidents of the participating countries, after an intense day of bilateral meetings and forums.
The monumental colonial fort of San Felipe, overlooking the Caribbean city of Cartagena, is the site chosen for the dinner, which will be the first meeting of all participants before the tomorrow when the official opening of the summit will be held.
For today it is expected the arrival of representatives from 26 countries including Barack Obama and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, who will finally participate in the Summit despite the doubts surrounding his health.
The Business Summit of the Americas will be opened today and the Social Forum which began on Monday will be closed today and a political dialogue between social partners and governments on the continent will be part of the agenda today.
Controversial discussion issues were inconclusive yesterday, such as the incorporation of Cuba to these summits, a claim of the sovereignty over the Falklands made by Argentina, and the rethinking of drug policy.
“Some countries” proposed the Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin to call Raul Castro, President of Cuba, to invite him to travel this Saturday to Cartagena.
The only president invited that declined to attend the Summit was Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa in solidarity with Cuba.
The central themes of this summit, whose motto is “Connecting the Americas: Partners in Prosperity”, are safety, natural disasters and the environment, poverty and inequality, access to new technologies and physical integration. (FL)