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Obama Steps Up The Tone Regarding Human Rights In Cuba

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Obama Steps Up The Tone Regarding Human Rights In Cuba

Mensaje por Wajiro el Miér Mar 24, 2010 11:32 pm

Obama raises the tone and calls an end to repression in Cuba


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Barack Obama Statement on the repression in Cuba
President Barack Obama, in his most bitter censure of the repression of dissent in Cuba, said Wednesday that Havana had used a "closed fist''against" those who dare to express the wishes of their fellow Cubans.''

Obama also seemed to imply that their efforts to improve U.S. relations with the government of Raúl Castro has slowed over the recent string of tough measures taken by Havana.

"In the past year have taken steps to reach out to the Cuban people and express my desire to promote a new era of relations between the governments of Cuba and the United States,''said four-paragraph statement released by the White House .

"I remain committed to supporting the Cuban people's simple desire to freely determine their future and enjoy the rights and freedoms that define the American continent,''he added, without mentioning a similar commitment to better relations between governments.

The statement is the harshest sentence the Cuban government since Obama took office. Last spring, Obama removed the restrictions on travel and remittances to Cuba for Cuban Americans and began bilateral talks on immigration and direct mail service.

Obama's statement comes a month after the death of political prisoner Orlando Zapata after a hunger strike of 83 days and a week after security forces and civilian supporters of the state of the Cuban government cracked down by force a march in Havana of the Ladies in White, relatives of jailed dissidents.

Cases of Zapata and the Ladies in White "and intensified harassment of those who dare to express the wishes of their fellow Cubans are extremely disturbing,''the President said.

"These events highlight that instead of taking the opportunity to enter a new era, the Cuban authorities continue to meet the aspirations of the Cuban people with a closed fist,''he said.

"Today I add my voice to the brave people in Cuba and a chorus increasing number worldwide who demand an end to repression, the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners and respect for basic rights Cuban people,''said the President.

The statement provoked immediate praise from those who favor maintaining tough sanctions on the Cuban government.

"We are grateful to President Obama's statement in solidarity with the Cuban people and recognizes the increased repression by the dictatorship,''said a statement by Republican Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart.

"Now more than ever it is time to demand international solidarity and increase assistance to the brave heroes fighting for freedom and democracy in Cuba,''she said.

Mauricio Claver-Carone, director of the Political Action Committee for US-Cuba Democracy, which is in favor of sanctions, said Obama "should be commended for siding with the Cuban people in their historic campaign for Democratic Change'' .

"This statement has decided to side with the future of Cuba, instead of unconditionally accepting the regime that represents only their present and past repression,''he wrote in a message addressed to El Nuevo Herald.

U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, Democrat of Florida and U.S. Senate candidate, said the President had "made clear that America is with the people of Cuba is not alone in their struggle for freedom and justice.''

"The Castro government is responsible for his actions and by their isolation,''said Meek.

"The President has sought to improve relations with the Cuban government, and has not worked,''said Andy Gomez, a member of the leadership of the Institute for Cuban and Cuban American Studies at the University of Miami.

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