Cuba Says Delegations Spoke on Human Rights

derechos humanosHAVANA TIMES — The Cuban delegation said today that the issue of human rights was addressed during talks with the United States to restore diplomatic relations.

Among other issues, “we also talked of the issue of human rights,” said the deputy head of the Cuban delegation, Gustavo Machin.

Shortly before, contradictory statements from the two negotiating heads, Roberta Jacobson of the US State Department and Josefina Vidal for Cuba’s Foreign Ministry, had caused some confusion in the context of the historic talks between Washington and Havana to resume diplomatic ties.

“The Cuban delegation said that of course we have different views on the exercise of national security, human rights, democracy, political models and international relations,” said Machin at the Havana Convention Center.

“My delegation reiterated its proposal to hold a respectful dialogue on a reciprocal basis between Cuba and the United States in the future,” said the deputy director for US affairs at the Cuban Foreign Ministry.

Cuba also stated “its concerns about the exercise of human rights in the United States,” he said.

The delegations held the first round of talks today on the planned reopening of embassies in their respective countries. On Wednesday they discussed migration issues.

The issue of human rights “remains crucial in our conversation,” Jacobson said today at noon after the round of talks in the morning, in her first public comments since she arrived in Havana.

“We do have differences on this issue, deep differences between our governments,” said the Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs in answering a question about the positions of both countries on human rights.

Jacobson also said that the issue was discussed at the negotiations table this morning. “It was part of the conversation today,” he said.

Vidal, however, denied that affirmation. “This topic has not yet been addressed in discussions. Today’s meeting was solely to discuss the issue of restoring relations,” said the director for US affairs at the Cuban Foreign Ministry.

Talks will continue in the coming weeks (the date has yet to be set), to move forward on the opening of the embassies in Washington and Havana and the drafting of a road map for diplomatic relations.


6 thoughts on “Cuba Says Delegations Spoke on Human Rights

  • January 25, 2015 at 11:17 am
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    Your lack of knowledge that medicine and pharmaceuticals have been excluded from the trade embargo since 2000 does not help your credibility.

  • January 23, 2015 at 10:07 pm
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    Josefina Vidal has often said, candidly and mostly privately, that her main job as Cuba’s Minister of North American Affairs is to be on the alert for and to deal with dissident acts financed from the U. S. and designed either to overthrow or undermine the Cuban government or to provoke reactions from Cuba that anti-Cuban zealots in the U. S. can use as anti-Cuban propaganda. Obviously, Ms. Vidal more often than not succeeds. She is aware that there will always be anti-government dissidents on the island who are legitimate, just as all countries have, but she is most concerned with dissidents on the island financed by foreign entities, such as Miami-Union City sources, USAID, etc. All countries in the world, including the U. S., are also concerned about such things from foreign sources but, at least according to propaganda machines in the U. S., Cuba is the one country in the world that is not supposed to feel that way. For those reasons, I do not believe decent people in the U. S. and in Cuba will be able to normalize relations, at least not approaching President Obama’s sane plans. Forces in the U. S. — in Miami, Union City and the U. S. Congress — can easily provoke Cuba into a defensive action that will sabotage any such ideas — just as what happened in 1963, 1996, and other years when powers in the White House were over-matched by forces that benefit — revengefully, economically or politically — from abnormal U.S.-Cuban relations. I hope I am wrong. But I believe there will be ten feet of snow in Havana before Obama’s normalization plans take shape…similar to the fates that beset President Kennedy, President Carter, and President Clinton. Cuba says a lot more about the United States than it says about Cuba. It says…the USS Maine should not have been blown up in Havana Harbor in 1898 to justify the Spanish-American War; it says the U. S. should not have teamed with the Mafia to support the Batista dictatorship in the 1950s; it says the U. S. democracy should have set some restrictions on the leaders of the Batista regime who fled back to the U. S. in January of 1959, etc. I believe to this day that Miami and Union City should have the right to elect members to the U. S. Congress; but I believe that the U. S. Congress should be democratic enough not to let a few zealots from Miami and Union City dictate America’s Cuba policy, either via economic might or political intimidation or collusion. I am also aware, according to the unanimity of the yearly UN vote and according to recent domestic polls even in Miami’s Little Havana, most people agree with my assessments, which come from a conservative but NOT RIGHT-WING Republican. America’s Cuban policy presents to the world an image that a handful of radicals can dictate major American policy, and I don’t think that will change despite the diplomatic sessions in Havana this week and in Washington next month.

  • January 23, 2015 at 1:47 pm
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    This is good news:

    There are reports that the US negotiator, Roberta Jacobson, met with a group of 7 Cuban dissidents today in Havana.

    Those at the meeting, all of whom have been harassed at various times by Cuban State Security, and many of whom have endured long prison sentences, included Elizardo Sanchez, of the Human Rights and National Reconciliation Commission; Jose Daniel Ferrer of the Cuban Patriotic Union; former Cuban diplomat and founder of the Ladies in White group Miriam Leiva; Hector Maceda, president of the Cuban Liberal Democratic Party; Antonio Rodiles, founder of the activist group Estado de SATS; activist and hunger striker Guillermo “Coco” Fariñas; and dissident economist Marta Beatriz Roque. Berta Soler was also invited by declined to attend.

    “We told her what we tell every foreign government official with whom we speak, which is the importance of solidarity with the Cuban dissidents and people,” said Daniel Ferrer, a member of opposition group Cuba’s Patriotic Union (Unpacu).

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-30957122

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/us-diplomats-meet-with-cuban-dissidents-in-havana-in-gesture-of-reassurance/2015/01/23/4fdb8c6a-a30e-11e4-903f-9f2faf7cd9fe_story.html

  • January 23, 2015 at 11:35 am
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    http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/10/29/death-taxes-and-the-cuban-blockade/
    And now I am finding that more and more Americans want to know the truth. That is good. I am positive about the eventual normalization. I have faith that America will do the right thing. It is not about differences it is about power. That is why Cuba has had little chance in the past half century.

  • January 23, 2015 at 11:33 am
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    Talking is good. Diplomacy is good. Conversations will continue as long as America does not impose its power on Cuba. Conflict is not about differences. If conflict was about differences of opinions, values and rights …the USA would be at war with 75% of the world. Conflict in the case of Cuba is not about differences it is about power. The US wants power over Cuba. This is why the hard-liners in Florida do not ever want to end the drive to destroy Cuba. It is all about power and winning. Fortunately 70% of Americans now disagree with the hardliners like Rubio. As talks and diplomacy continue differences will be just that. The need to control and bully will lessen. I have been going to Cuba for 2 decades. Safest country. Beautiful country with wonderful people. If you really want to know the affects of the embargo read this.

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