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Embassy Reopening Comes Without Human Rights Improvements

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Embassy Reopening Comes Without Human Rights Improvements

(Washington D.C.) – Today U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry raised the U.S. flag on Cuban soil as part of the reopening ceremony of the American embassy in Havana. It is reported that dissidents of the island dictatorship will not be allowed on the premises and Secretary Kerry will not meet with either of the Castro brothers but rather his counterpart Foreign Minister, Bruno Rodrí­guez. The controversial concessions granted by the U.S. to Cuba have garnered much opposition in Congress, in the Cuban-American community, and in Cuba itself. Secretary Kerry said in an interview that the new relations will help shed a light on the human rights issues on the island, but did not offer much explanation on the U.S. concessions being reciprocated with civil liberties to Cubans.

Jorge Lima, Vice President of Operations and Policy for The LIBRE Initiative, released the following statement:

“Granting diplomatic relations with the United States is one of the most valuable concessions that can be made to the Castro regime, and the White House has granted that privilege without meaningful concession on the part of that dictatorship. The exclusion of dissidents from the ceremony only adds insult to injury. Those hoping for democracy on the island are today left feeling greater isolation. For decades now the Castro brothers have systematically crushed movements by dissidents to reclaim basic human rights, stifled free enterprise and technological innovations desired by millions of Cuban citizens, and maintained the island in ruin and oppression.

Since the normalization process began we have not seen improvements in the lives of the Cuban people. Instead, we have seen more of the same rhetoric from the Castros. The administration needs to take a stronger approach when it comes to dealing with Castro’s regime, and put humanitarian concerns at the forefront. Many have waited years to see the American flag once again wave in Havana but it is a shame that today those who truly believe in what that flag symbolizes are no freer to witness the event than they are to practice the freedom it represents.”

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