Sunday, September 15, 2019

U.S. will not invite Cuban dissidents to Embassy flag-raising in Havana

Cuba US

The Obama administration reported they will not be inviting critics of the Cuban government to the historic flag-raising at the American Embassy in Havana on Friday. Secretary of State John Kerry will instead meet privately with activists after the event later in the day, illustrating the U.S. government’s policy shift from opposition to embrace. Still, it is evident that issues of human rights remain in the conscience of diplomats and policymakers, who are very much aware of how delicate the situation is and will continue to be.

“The United States will continue to advocate for the rights to peaceful assembly, association and freedom of expression and religion, and we’re going to continue to voice our support for improved human rights conditions and democratic reforms in Cuba,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said.

Officials familiar with the Mr. Kerry’s visit – the first of a sitting Secretary of State since WWII – said that a compromise is in the works for the ceremony. They recognized that openly inviting dissidents would send a false message to the Cuban government that the United States is not all-in in their commitment to restore diplomatic relations, whereas neglecting to meet with dissidents at all would send a signal that their voices have been silenced in light of an opening of relations.

Estado de SATS, a prominent Cuban dissident group, has lobbied Secretary Kerry for a seat at the table for Friday’s flag-raising. “[Estado de SATS], among many others, and not the Castro family, are the legitimate representatives of the Cuban people,” Florida Senator and Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio said.

Still, both parties will be represented at the historic event, but while dissidents will continue to voice concerns over the Obama administration’s restoring of diplomatic ties, the course is trending toward diplomacy.

FOX Latino