Washington - US Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today released the following statement on the Organization of American States General Assembly's resolution on Cuba:

"This weak resolution undermines the OAS's foundation by only paying lip service to the principles upon which the Democratic Charter stands. It allows for loose interpretation of what should be a clear set of fundamental democratic principles and standards regarding human rights, and we are already seeing this interpretation play out. The member states of the OAS could have used this as an opportunity to reaffirm a commitment to democracy and human rights by defining an unambiguous path by which Cuba would be readmitted. It would be a path guided by the fundamental principles of the OAS, including those outlined in the Inter-American Democratic Charter and the OAS Charter, and including the release of political prisoners, the adoption of basic human rights and democratic reforms. I will closely watch how this process unfolds, but a lack of commitment to democracy and human rights at the OAS will bring a debate into the U.S. Congress about how much we are willing to support the OAS as an institution."

"This is a sad day for the human rights activists, political prisoners and independent journalists who are struggling inside of Cuba to promote peaceful democratic change. It is also a sad day for the U.S., in which it has become evident that our leadership in the Hemisphere has ebbed to this low. This is the result of a long-standing absence of U.S. leadership in the Hemisphere and the continuing lack of a relevant Latin America agenda. Unless the Obama administration has a more expansive plan of engagement in the region, Cuba will continue to dominate the discussion and democratic principles will continue to erode. We could have used the General Assembly in Honduras to discuss energy, public security, and economic and social development. Instead, even after the unprecedented gestures of goodwill sent by the Obama administration, we fought for three days over absurdly vague language that we can expect will be the source of constant disagreement moving forward. Only by the administration having a hemispheric plan of action and a real engagement in Latin America will we avoid this in the future."

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