U.S. President Barack Obama met with his Colombian counterpart Juan Manuel Santos Sunday following the 6th Summit of the Americas held in the coastal city of Cartagena.
The official bilateral meeting followed a secretive summit in which the U.S. and Canada found strong opposition from Latin American countries regarding the North American countries’ stance on drug trafficking, the Falkland islands and Cuba.
In his opening speech of the summit, Santos rejected the U.S. embargo on Cuba, a stance that found substantial support among his Latin American colleagues.
“All the countries here in Latin American and the Caribbean want Cuba to be present. But the United States won’t accept,” President Evo Morales of Bolivia told reporters late Saturday. “It’s like a dictatorship.”
Nevertheless, Cuba was not on Obama’s agenda when meeting with the leaders of Guatemala, El Salvador, Argentina and Peru.
Because of a “lack of consensus” on the divisive issues, the summit ended without a joint declaration.
Hours before Obama and Santos entered their meeting, the White House announced that the free trade pact between the two countries will take effect in May.