Barack charms Latin leaders

Instead, he said, the leaders had “useful, respectful dialogue” where they were able to speak out about Cuba.

“We’re now in the 21st century; this is a new world; there is a new attitude with a position of respect among the presidents,” Zelaya said during a news conference at the International Finance Centre held yesterday at the Waterfront on Wrightson Road in Port-of-Spain.

He said while there were some sectors who hoped for a conflict, and there were those who “made a living by this”, Obama won over the goodwill of Latin America.

“Obama has spoken, and we value that it looks to be political goodwill. He treated the heads of state like fellow human beings. There has been a warm connection among the countries,” he said. Zelaya’s news conference, came after Canada’s prime minister Stephen Harper’s, both of which did not cater for local and English-speaking journalists.

While Harper spoke in both English and French, he answered only questions from the Canadian media, making it clear before the start of the briefing that he was accommodating Canadian journalists, who were not able to ask their questions at other conferences.

The translators also made no attempt to translate while Harper was speaking.

Zelaya also took only questions from Spanish-speaking journalists.

The Honduran president said the summit did carry a certain degree of bias, but was also the culmination of the phases between the Cold War and the present state of affairs.

He said this new dialogue opened up a lot of doors among the countries where they may be able to co-ordinate and work together on issues such as energy, finance and social crises.

“Latin America is also part of this process of solidarity, and there is a new president of the US who I think comes with a will to dialogue. He’s going to listen, and at the same time, he has shown a very open attitude.

“President Obama has opened the door to dialogue we have not seen. There is a new format of dialogue opening the possibility of future discussions,” Zelaya said.

He said Obama was willing to listen, and generated a high level of respect and they needed to take into account that the summit was really the dawn of a new era.

Speaking about the declaration, Zelaya said Prime Minister Patrick Manning signed on behalf of the 34 countries.

“I think the most important aspect here is not really taking the text literally, but that really we have gone past expectations because we expected confrontations. We saw really the birth or the beginning, the dawn of a new attitude by the United States toward Latin America with the presence and the responses by President Barack.”

When asked how credible the declaration was, Zelaya simply said the document was formulated by the delegates from the different countries from OAS and they had less than18 months in the drafting. When we started putting together the document the global economic crisis hadn’t really come up, we didn’t have the problems that we’re facing right now,” Zelaya said.


"Barack charms Latin leaders"

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