http://havanajournal.com/politics/entry/undersecretary-of-state-welcomes-cuba-back-to-oas...-when-its-a-democracy/

HavanaJournal.com: Cuba Politics

Undersecretary of State welcomes Cuba back to OAS… when its a democracy

Posted May 18, 2009 by publisher in Cuba Politics.
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AFP

Washington eagerly awaits Cuba’s return to the inter-American diplomatic system, a top U.S. official told a gathering at the Organization of American States on Wednesday.

“We look forward to the day when every country in the hemisphere, including Cuba, can take its seat at this very special table, in a manner that is consistent with the principles of the Inter-American democratic charter,” said Undersecretary of State James Steinberg.

“The United States seeks a new beginning with Cuba and we have changed our policy in ways that we believe will advance liberty and create opportunity for the Cuban people,” Steinberg said in a speech delivered at the annual Council of the Americas meeting.

He added that U.S. President Barack Obama “has also made clear our willingness and our readiness to engage constructively with the Cuban government on a wide range of issues.”

“We must also call on our friends in the hemisphere to join together in supporting liberty, equality and human rights for all Cubans,” the diplomat said.

In April, Obama lifted travel and money transfer restrictions on Americans with relatives in Cuba.

However, the U.S. president has said he won’t, for now, end the 47-year-old U.S. economic embargo on Cuba, instead urging Havana to show progress on human rights.

“None should mistake our willingness to engage governments with whom our relations have deteriorated in recent years for an abdication of principle,” Steinberg said, echoing that sentiment Wednesday.

“The region is showing that democracy can deliver if government can find ways to go beyond trade and capital liberalization to craft policies and build institutions committed to social justice.”

But earlier this week, a top Havana official rejected Washington’s call for Cuban action to improve bilateral ties.

“Cuba has to do absolutely nothing, because it did not do anything to the United States,” Ricardo Alarcon, speaker of the Cuban National Assembly and member of the Communist Party Politburo, told CNN television.

Alarcon pointed to a trade embargo maintained by Washington against his country since 1962, the use by the United States of its naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, which Havana opposes, and Cuba’s inclusion on the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism.

“We don’t have to do absolutely anything except taking note of the corrective steps taken by the other side when they take place,” Alarcon said.

Member Comments

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On May 18, 2009, publisher wrote:

“in a manner that is consistent with the principles of the Inter-American democratic charter”

meaning when Cuba is a Democracy.

So, right now it seems as though Obama is waiting for Cuba to turn into a Democracy before he allows all American citizens to have their right to travel to Cuba.

President Obama, Cuba is not going to turn into a Democracy because you let Cuban Americans travel there. Nothing will happen until Fidel is dead. Fidel and Raul want and need the Embargo so they can keep Communism. Please understand these basic facts before you too sit and wait for Cuba to change.

Change US policy for Americans not for Cubans.

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On May 18, 2009, HavanAndrew wrote:

Obama should go to Havana with all options open. During the visit speak at the Lincoln monument across from the Capitolia. Historians and scholars in Cuba, the Castros and Obama can establish a common ground based on common good for the people. The symbolism of Cuba maintaining a statue of Lincoln for the past 50 years would be a catalyst for common ground. This would let proverbial cat out of the bag.

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On May 19, 2009, grant wrote:

An american style democracy? Like China?