Costa Rica Coffee Guide

Obama promises human rights talk with Castro

March 13, 2016

HAVANA, Cuba – U.S. President Barack Obama, who visits Cuba in a week, promised dissidents he would directly discuss human rights issues with their president, Raúl Castro, in a letter published Sunday.

Obama told the Ladies in White, a group of wives and children of political prisoners, that he understood their struggle, in the letter dated March 10 but published online by the dissident organization three days later.

“I fully understand the obstacles that ordinary Cubans face in exercising their rights,” Obama wrote in English. “The United States believes that no one in Cuba or anywhere else should face harassment, arrest, or physical assault just because they are exercising a universal right to have their voices heard.”

“As I have in the past, I will raise these issues directly with President Castro,” Obama stressed.

The White House confirmed to AFP that the letter was authentic.

When Obama sets foot in Havana on March 20, the White House imagines a “Berlin Wall moment” — a singular legacy-gilding event like Ronald Reagan’s 1987 address before the Brandenburg Gate.

While Reagan sought to end the Cold War division of Europe, Obama hopes to symbolically “tear down” decades of Cold War antagonism across the narrow Florida Straits.

Obama will visit the island March 20 to 22 — the first visit by a U.S. president since Calvin Coolidge in 1928, and a symbolically charged capstone to the rapprochement that he and Castro announced in December 2014.

Obama’s Republican foes accuse him of betraying the cause of human rights in Cuba by engaging with the Castro regime, the Americas’ only one-party Communist state.

In a bid to fend off such criticism, the White House has announced Obama will meet with anti-regime dissidents in Havana, although it has not given any details beyond insisting that the Cuban government will not be allowed to hand-pick them.

See: Costa Rica winds down humanitarian mission for Cuban migrants with presidential send-off

You may be interested

Protests to block Costa Rica roads, cause other disruptions Wednesday
Costa Rica
21698 views
Costa Rica
21698 views

Protests to block Costa Rica roads, cause other disruptions Wednesday

Alejandro Zúñiga - September 29, 2020

Planned demonstrations throughout the country could block Costa Rican highways and cause other disruptions Wednesday. The "Movimiento Rescate Nacional" will…

False information punishable by years in prison under proposed Nicaraguan law
Central America
1367 views
Central America
1367 views

False information punishable by years in prison under proposed Nicaraguan law

AFP - September 29, 2020

Deputies from Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega's party on Monday proposed a law that would make spreading fake news on social…

Costa Rica learns opponents for upcoming Gold Cup
Costa Rica
4090 views
Costa Rica
4090 views

Costa Rica learns opponents for upcoming Gold Cup

Alejandro Zúñiga - September 29, 2020

CONCACAF on Monday announced the groups for the 2021 Gold Cup, the men's international soccer tournament for North America, Central…