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Obama Faces Latin American Opposition to Venezuela Sanctions as Cuba Joins Summit of the Americas

A woman holds a picture of late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez and a Cuban flag as she takes part in a march before the opening of the Peoples Summit to be held in parallel with the VII Americas Summit, in Panama City on April 9, 2015 (Photo: AFP/Johan Ordonez)

President Obama has arrived in Panama to attend the Summit of the Americas along with other leaders from Canada, Central America, South America, the Caribbean — and for the first time, Cuba.

On Thursday, Obama announced the State Department has finished its review of whether Cuba should be removed from the list of state sponsors of terrorism. The move would allow the two countries to reopen their embassies and move forward on historic efforts to normalize relations that were announced in December. Meanwhile, the United States faces other tensions at the summit over its recent sanctions against Cuba’s close ally, Venezuela. An executive order signed by President Obama last month used the designation to sanction top Venezuelan officials over alleged human rights abuses and corruption.

This week, the United States announced it no longer considers the country a national security threat. Other topics expected to be on the summit’s agenda include trade, security and migration. Today, Democracy Now! speaks with two guests: Miguel Tinker Salas, professor of Latin American history at Pomona College and author of the new book, "Venezuela: What Everyone Needs to Know," and Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research and president of Just Foreign Policy. His article in The Hill is headlined "Obama Could Face Disastrous Summit Due to Venezuela Sanctions."

Watch the segment:

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