Latin Leaders Praise Obama on Cuba, Press for More

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 18, 2009 5:20 PM CDT
President Obama, Uruguay's President Tabare Vazquez, left, and Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez pose for a photo in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, Saturday April 18, 2009.   (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)
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(Newser) – Latin American and Caribbean leaders praised President Obama today for reaching out to Cuba and urged him to end America's trade embargo with the communist nation, Reuters reports. After Brazil, Venezuela, and Caribbean nations applauded Obama's call for a "new beginning with Cuba" at a summit in Port of Spain, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez pressed Obama to "advance rapidly" toward that goal.

Obama should seek "a new relationship with Cuba, based on respect, without conditions, I think there's a good possibility of that happening," Chavez said. But Obama wants political changes in return from Cuba—a demand that has crippled talks before. "The president said everything we do in relation with Cuba is informed by a real concern for democracy," a US official said.