HAVANA TIMES – Representatives from Cuba and the United States will meet in Washington next Tuesday (March 31) to discuss the human rights situation in both countries, a Foreign Ministry official said in Havana today (March 26).
Pedro Luis Pedroso (in photo above), deputy director for Multilateral Affairs and International Law, said at a news conference that Cuba had proposed such an encounter last July and that the State Department agreed to it three months ago.
Cuba expects the meeting to proceed constructively, on a basis of reciprocity, without conditions or discriminatory behavior, with full respect for sovereign equality, independence and noninterference in the domestic affairs of either party, Pedroso said.
In balance, the agenda must contemplate all the types of human rights for all people, he added.
At the meeting, Cuba will bring up its own achievements in the promotion and protection of all human rights, not only of its people but also of the people in numerous countries with which Cuba has cooperated in terms of health and education, the official said.
The dialogue will also be an opportunity to express Cuba’s concerns about the human rights situation in the United States and other places where the U.S. has a direct bearing, Pedroso said.
“We are aware that we have profound differences with the government of the United States in the field of political systems, democracy, human rights and international law,” he went on. “But we also have an unwavering desire to see our two countries relate to each other in a civilized manner, recognizing and respecting those differences.”
Asked about possible friction on issues like political rights, Pedroso said that Cuba believes that different models of politics and democracy exist and that no single reference point should be imposed.
In addition, he said, the international community recognizes the right of each country to adopt the political system that it considers most convenient, according to each country’s conditions, specificities, historical, economic and social background.
CUBA, U.S. MEET TO DISCUSS TELECOMMUNICATIONS
Two days of talks in Havana involving telecommunications ended on Thursday (March 26) with the departure of the U.S. delegation, headed by Daniel A. Sepúlveda, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs.
The Cuban side was headed by Jorge Luis Perdomo, deputy minister of Communications, who provided the visitors with information about the Cuban computer system and its policy of cybersecurity.
In Washington, State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said that the meetings “proceeded in a positive atmosphere and were mainly devoted to the development of telecommunications and Internet contacts between the two countries.
“Increasing access to the Internet in order to support the free exchange of information is an important aspect of our policy,” Rathke said, quoted by the Russian news agency Tass.
According to the Cuban Ministry of Communications, the U.S. delegation, which included officials from the Commerce Department, visited the University of Computer Science and the José Antonio Echeverría Polytechnic Institute. They also met with officials of ETECSA, Cuba’s telecommunications company.