The Summit of the Americas, opening in Panama on Friday, was where U.S. President Barack Obama planned to mark a turning point in U.S. relations with Latin America, highlighting a tangible example of his foreign policy legacy.
Obama had hoped to bask in the triumph of his new Cuba policy. Instead, the event is likely to prove much more diplomatically ambiguous and challenging, both for the United States and the almost three-dozen hemispheric leaders attending the forum.
Undoubtedly, the main event, the one garnering the most headlines and the most indelible images, will be the one that brings together Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro. The summit will give them the first chance to meet since the two countries announced in December that they would work to normalize diplomatic ties after half a century of acrimony.