Latin summit stirred but not shaken by Fidel: Cuba accepts a watered-down resolution backing its stand against US embargo

TO ENSURE he was not poisoned by any of his enemies, Fidel Castro brought his own drinking water to this week's summit of Ibero-American nations in the Brazilian city of Salvador de Bahia. As the summit wound down last night - there was little sign it ever really got wound up - the Cuban leader looked like leaving with a highly watered-down resolution condemning the crippling US embargo on his Caribbean island.

Faced with varying degrees of criticism from the other Spanish- or Portuguese-speaking nations taking part, Mr Castro was probably content to have come away with any glimmer of support at all. But the reference to the embargo which was being drafted for the final communique last night looked like being a masterpiece of diplomatic face- saving even by Latin standards.

'The participants take note of recent resolutions in international forums referring to the necessity of eliminating the unilateral application by any state, for political ends, of economic or commercial measures against another state'. This version looked like entering the history books. No mention of Cuba or the US - Argentina's Carlos Menem was the leading spoilsport on that score - but at least it suggested that the Ibero- American government chiefs read the papers.

As expected, Mr Castro stole the show in the north-eastern Brazilian city, even from the guests of honour, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain. While the Spanish royals appeared happy enough with the fare in the Othon Bathia hotel, the bearded Communist leader, as always, shipped in everything he consumed, from the water to his own salt.

'All they asked us for was a cooking stove,' a hotel executive told the Spanish news agency, Efe.

Hotel staff said each cartload of Mr Castro's food, drinks and other necessities was guarded by a bunch of hefty Cuban security men, glancing around furtively in the style of those secret service men who surround American presidents.

Such was the Brazilian military presence aimed at ensuring the participants' security that many locals, expressing total lack of interest in the summit, feared recent rumours of a coup against the beleaguered Brazilian President, Itamar Franco, had come true. There were anti- aircraft guns on roofs, warships in the bay and machine-guns pointed even at the city's favela (slums).

Journalists described the organisation of the conference as tercermundista (third worldish), in sharp contrast to the sleek United Nations environment conference hosted last year by the since-ousted president, Fernando Collor de Mello.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Ashdown Group: Lead Web Developer (ASP.NET, C#) - City of London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee