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Saturday, July 22, 2006


Cracks in the U.S. blockade of Cuba

Venezuela joins MERCOSUR, and then this:
The Mercosur leaders also concluded a deal Friday to foster greater trade with Cuba, despite a 45-year-old U.S. embargo of the island. The accord, announced here, is intended to foster a greater exchange of goods between Mercosur nations and Cuba through tariff reductions and a promise that neither side will arbitrarily hike import fees or taxes.
And Brazil's President Lula says the U.S.' "Free Trade of the Americas" is history.

And of course, the star of the show was someone who attended merely as an observer: Fidel (who surely doesn't need a second name any more than Brazilian soccer stars do).

And for an added bonus, while Fidel is scoring diplomatic triumphs and being given a hero's welcome, chief U.S. "diplomat" Condoleezza Rice has to slink around the world:

She won't go to any Arab countries right away - Egypt reportedly balked at hosting a meeting because of public anger at the Israeli offensive - although diplomats held out the possibility that she would make stops in the Arab world at the end of the trip.
Update: And when I say Fidel was given a hero's welcome, I wasn't just referring to the other leaders present:
Residents of the small Argentine city [of Alta Gracia] packed the sidewalks, cheering as Castro and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez made their way through a middle-class neighborhood to the house, which is now a museum dedicated to "el Che."
George Bush can't even walk down a street in the United States, much less a street in another country.

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