Senator warns against including Cuba in OAS

Readmitting Cuba to the Organization of American States (OAS) would be an affront to that organization's mission, Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) said Tuesday.

Martinez warned against a vote to include Cuba in OAS, the pro-Democracy and human rights organization, which is set to consider readmitting the communist nation at its meeting in Honduras this week.

"The OAS was founded on the universal principle of individual liberty," the Cuban-American Martinez said in a statement. "I can't think of anything more harmful to the OAS and the advancement of individual freedoms than allowing Cuba readmission without any requirement they respect and promote human rights and democracy."

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also demanded that Cuba release political prisoners and establish human rights and democratic reforms before the U.S. would support Cuba's reentry, according to the Associated Press.

Cuba was expelled from the OAS in 1962 in the wake of Fidel Castro's takeover of the government. Many Latin American countries have pushed for its inclusion again in recent years.

The Obama administration has also made outreach to Cuba a foreign policy goal, announcing renewed talks on migration and mail this past weekend.

"The members of the OAS would be well-served by sending a message reaffirming democracy and human rights as the foundation of the inter-American system," Martinez said.

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