The member nations of the OAS showed flexibility and openness today, and as a result we reached a consensus that focuses on the future instead of the past: Cuba can come back into the OAS in the future if the OAS decides that its participation meets the purposes and principles of the organization, including democracy and human rights. Many member countries originally sought to lift the 1962 suspension and allow Cuba to return immediately, without conditions. Others agreed with us that the right approach was to replace the suspension – which has outlived its purpose after nearly half a century – with a process of dialogue and a future decision that will turn on Cuba's commitment to the organization’s values. I am pleased that everyone came to agree that Cuba cannot simply take its seat and that we must put Cuba’s participation to a determination down the road – if it ever chooses to seek reentry. If and when the day comes to make that determination, the United States will continue to defend the principles of the Inter-American Democratic Charter and other fundamental tenets of the organization. This outcome is in keeping with our forward-looking, principled approach to relations with Cuba and our hemisphere.
We must now build on this success by meeting our goals with actions that move us beyond rhetoric to results, and advance the mission which each of our nations have pledged to pursue: strengthening good governance, democratic institutions, an unwavering commitment to fundamental human rights and freedoms, and the rule of law — the underpinnings of democracy and the founding principles of this organization.