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Cuba Normalization Should Come with Respect for Human Rights


Cuba Normalization Should Come with Respect for Human Rights
White House continues to liberalize relations despite illegal Cuban arms shipments

(Washington D.C.) – Today the Obama Administration announced that Cuba has been removed from the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism. The move paves the way for diplomatic recognition, an establishment of embassies, and the lifting of some trade barriers. While removal from the list requires a determination by the U.S. government that Cuba has not supported international terrorism in the last six months, in recent months the Cuban government has reportedly worked with North Korea and China on secret and illegal arms shipments. With regard to human rights in Cuba, some in Congress argue that “nothing has changed,” despite the negotiations with the United States. White House Press Secretary, Josh Earnest, recently said President Obama “would relish the opportunity” to travel to Cuba.

Jorge Lima, Policy Director of The LIBRE Initiative, released the following statement:

“Liberalizing our diplomatic relationship with Cuba without real and verifiable guarantees of political or civil liberties is shortsighted, and the repressed dissidents of Cuba pay the price. In an effort to create a legacy and have a presence on the island, President Obama has given in to one of the key Demand s of the island’s dictatorial regime with little commitment in return. Castro’s attack against liberty and democracy, and his hostility toward the United States and our Interest s in promoting human rights in the region remain in effect.

The president needs to take a stronger approach when it comes to dealing with Castro’s regime. Since the beginning of normalization last November, we’ve only seen an emboldened Castro cling to his communist policies and come down hard on those who disagree with them. We can’t ignore the reality of our Cuban brothers and sisters who are continually deprived of their most basic freedoms. If we truly want to see a prosperous Cuba, we should not grant valuable benefits to the unreformed Castro government until the political and civil liberties are guaranteed for every Cuban, both on and off the island.”

For interviews with a LIBRE representative, please contact: Brian Faughnan, 703-678-4581 or Josh Rivera, 202-763-4428.