LATIN AMERICA

Havana tells US to let the Cubans decide their own future

Government criticizes Obama for trying to "give lesson in democracy"

US and Canada only countries to reject petition to allow Havana to attend next Americas Summit

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who, along with President Obama, rejected a petition to allow Cuba to attend the next Summit of the Americas. / CAROLYN KASTER (AP)

The Cuban government on Wednesday told US President Barack Obama that Washington should not be concerned about Cuba because it is up to the "Cubans to worry about" their island.

In a statement published in the official newspaper of the Communist leadership, Granma, the government criticized Obama for trying "to give lessons" in democracy to Cuba during last weekend's Summit of the Americas held in Cartagena, Colombia. "President Obama should have discovered that the Cartagena summit wasn't held to teach Cuba about democracy," read the statement under the headline: "Cubans will worry about Cuba."

Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper were the only two leaders in the 33-member summit who rejected a petition by other countries to allow the Havana government to attend the next hemispheric meeting in 2015.

Granma called the regional support in favor of Cuba joining the Americas summit in three years "impressive." The meeting concluded on Sunday without a final statement from the leaders.

In another column, Granma also criticized what it called a "new crusade" by former Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar "to rescue neoliberalism" from the "heresy" of the leftist governments of Latin America. Aznar, who recently met with US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, presides over the conservative Foundation for Analysis and Social Studies (FAES), which released a 2012 report on Latin America. Granma called the report "freakish" and said the "FAES hefty volume is the product of Aznar's philanthropic vocation."

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