Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Monday joined other Latin American leaders to praise United States President Barack Obama and Cuban dictator Raul Castro for their decision to normalize relations.
“In the name of the continent, we celebrate the audacity and courage of President Obama and the Cuban government to take this decision,” said Santos at a press conference in the presidential palace in the capital Bogota.
According to Colombia’s head of state, the countries’ decision to resume diplomatic relations for the first time since the 1960s “opens the door to a near future in which we can fulfill the dream of having a continent where there is peace between nations and inside them.”
“This is a fundamental step to normalize the relations between nations and will positively affect the entire hemisphere, said Santos who praised both the US and Cuba for their will to “openly and frankly discuss issues like democracy, freedom and human rights.”
The Colombian president said that US vice-President Joe Biden had told him about the announcement a few hours before Obama and Cuban dictator Raul Castro announced their decision.
Santos offered Colombia’s help in the Americas Summit set for next year in Panama City. According to Santos, the renewed relations between offers the hemispheric summit “a great opportunity we can not miss.”
“My government is ready to do whatever is required that this summit will be a historic scene of rapprochement between the different views that coexist in this great territory called America,” said the president.
Santos was not the only Latin American head of state to celebrate the beginning of normalization of ties between Cuba and the US.
Chilean Foreign Minister Heraldo Munoz hailed it as “the beginning of the end of the Cold War in the Americas” while Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, whose predecessor Hugo Chavez was a close ally of Fidel Castro, said it was a “victory for Fidel” Castro, the Cuban revolutionary who overthrew the government in 1959 to install a Communist dictatorship at the height of the Cold War.