Defense Ministers from Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Suriname and Guyana met in Chile yesterday to begin meetings of the South American Defense Council and UNASUR (Union of South American Nations).
After the meeting, the Defense Minsters of five countries (Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Bolivia) gathered to make public statements to the Obama administration about the US embargo towards Cuba.
Brazil's Defense Minister (Nelson Jobim) said: "A key element for the United States to have a better relationship with South America is a change in its policy toward Cuba."
Uruguay's Defense Minister said: "Today Cuba does not pose a security threat to the United States. And, US policy towards Cuba is determined more by internal pressures of the Cuban-American lobby than by cold [rational] analysis."
Argentina's first female Defense Minister, Nilda Garré, said: "Today, we see favorable conditions with the new president in the United States to put an end to this discriminatory and unjust situation [of the US embargo]. Evidently, the reincorporation of a country that was many years ago removed from the OAS is a pending issue."
[AP Photo above of Defense Minister Nilda Garré and General Normando Constantino.]