U.S. President Barack Obama says he sees positive signs in the nature of the U.S. relationship with Cuba and Venezuela.
Mr. Obama said at the end of the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and
Tobago Sunday that there is an opportunity for frank dialogue on a
range of issues, including democracy and human rights.
But, he added that "the test for all of us is not simply words but also deeds."
Mr. Obama has eased some travel and economic restrictions on Cuba, and
says the 47 year-old embargo on the island has not worked.
He said Sunday that Cuba must show it is ready to improve its
relationship with the U.S. by taking actions like releasing political
prisoners and reducing the charges on money sent by Cuban-Americans
home to their relatives in Cuba.
At the Western Hemisphere summit, Mr. Obama spoke with several Latin
American leaders critical of U.S. policies, including Venezuelan
President Hugo Chavez.
The Venezuelan president proposed sending an ambassador back to
Washington to restore normal ties. Both countries expelled each others'
envoys in September.
Many regional leaders expressed hope the U.S. relationship with Latin America would improve under Mr. Obama's watch.
Despite the developments, the 34 nations attending the Summit of the Americas failed to agree on a final declaration.
A group of leftist presidents, including Mr. Chavez, refused to sign
the document, saying it failed to address Cuba's exclusion from the
summit and does not provide solutions to the global economic crisis.