Let's Remember Why the OAS Excluded Cuban Regime

Mary Anastasia O'Grady is right in asserting that the revocation of the exclusion of the Castro communist regime from the Organization of American States and its readmission to the regional organization would undermine the inter-American system and demoralize the surging dissident movement in Cuba ("Cuba Doesn't Belong in a Democratic Club" Americas, May 11).

I attended the 1962 Punta del Este Conference that adopted the exclusionary resolution as the Special Representative of the Cuban Revolutionary Council (in exile) to the OAS, and met with most of the foreign ministers and ambassadors who were present. Based on the official documents, and on my notes and recollections, I can affirm the following:

A few weeks prior to the Conference, Fidel Castro precluded an invitation to renew Cuba's ties to the OAS with his defying statement that he was, and always will be, a Marxist-Leninist.

The foreign ministers unanimously declared that Marxism-Leninism was incompatible with the inter-American system because it negates its core principles of representative democracy, human rights, nonintervention and self-determination.

The foreign ministers rejected an outlandish attempt by Brazil Foreign Minister Francisco Dantas to create a special statute for the Cuban Marxist-Leninist regime so that it could remain in the OAS, but outside its charter (a proposal now under consideration). By two-thirds vote, the Cuban regime was excluded from the OAS, not only because of its alignment with the Soviet bloc, but also because of its brutal totalitarianism.

Josť Miguel Insulza, the current Secretary-General of the OAS, supports the revocation of Cuba's exclusion because he claims that it is a remnant of the Cold War and, therefore, "obsolete." No, what is obsolete, and disgraceful, is the permanence in the Americas, with hemispheric subservience, of a half-century dynastic tyranny that has suppressed all human rights and continues to despise the OAS and reject its Democracy Charter.

Mr. Insulza and all those who are courting the Castro brothers should know that the empty chair of the OAS belongs to the legitimate representatives of a free Cuba, not to its oppressors.

Nestor Carbonell-Cortina