HAVANA TIMES —If the government of Raul Castro does not undertake “a broader” political reform agenda Cuba is in danger of falling behind in the advances of this century, said US secretary of state, John Kerry in Washington on Monday, reported dpa news.
Kerry spoke just over a week after President Obama hinted that change should occur in the US policy regarding Cuba.
“If no more changes occur soon, it is clear that the twenty-first century will, unfortunately, leave the Cubans behind,” Kerry said at the headquarters of the Organization of American States (OAS), in his first major speech on Latin America since taking over as head of U.S. diplomacy earlier this year.
In a region like the Americas that has made much progress in democracy Cuba remains the “exception,” he noted.
Kerry stressed that Washington welcomes some of the recent changes introduced by the government in Havana, such as the removal of restrictions on travel or to create small businesses.
But such reforms “should not blind us to the reality of authoritative daily life for ordinary Cubans,” he said .
“In a hemisphere where citizens everywhere have the right to choose their leaders, Cubans are the only ones who do not. In a hemisphere where people can criticize their leaders without fear of being arrested or suffer violence, Cubans still can’t do so.
“We look forward to the day, and hopefully soon, when the Cuban government assumes a political agenda of broader reform that allows its citizens to freely determine their own future,” said Kerry. He asked for support from the region to demand these changes.
“We hope to show unity for this aspiration because in each country, including the United States, every day that we did not press for personal liberties and representative government, we risk taking a step backward, something none of us can accept,” he said.