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Lawyer Conference in Cuba Moved to Miami Over Political Fears

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By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. on May 24, 2016 12:57 PM

Despite warming relations between America and Cuba, the annual meeting of the Inter-American Bar Association has been relocated from Havana to Miami. An abundance of caution, apparently, is to blame.

If the conference had moved forward, it would have been the first time IABA had met in Cuba since the organization's inaugural conference in Havana.

Concerns Over the Speakers

According to Daily Business Review, the Cuban officials decided to cancel the annual meeting of the Inter-American Bar Association in Havana over concerns of the scheduled speakers and fear that they might start either discussing the communist regime or the controversy over the communist sympathizers in Venezuela. The request seems to have come from Cuba's government-sanction bar association.

General Luis Almagro

The controversy centers around General Luis Almagro who, in the past, has been a vocal critic of Venezuela's president Nicolás Maduro. Seeing has how Mr. Almagro recently used words like "traitor" and "petty dictator" to describe Maduro, one can understand why Cuba might feel a touch reticent at the thought of potentially becoming the soapbox of the OAS head Almagro. Maduro responded by throwing his own jabs at Almagro and the current sentiment between the two men is electric.

The Cuban government, sensing danger, asked the IABA's president Carlos Lopez to have Mr. Almagro removed from the speaker list. But when Cuba appeared to want "complete control" of what was to be said, Mr. Lopez simply decided to change venues.

It's a little sad, particularly in light of the easing of tensions between America and Cuba after many decades of heightened distrust.

Some Background

The IABA was founded in 1940 and is headquartered in DC. The organization is committed to promoting the rule of law and advancing democracy in the Americas. The ABA is a member of the IABA, so this gives readers a sense of the organization's influence.

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