Human Rights in Cuba

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Kerry’s ‘exit’ memo to Obama on Cuba, other countries sounds as if it’s
aimed at Trump
BY FRANCO ORDOÑEZ
fordonez@mcclatchydc.com

WASHINGTON
Outgoing Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States needed to
deepen its ties with Cuba if it truly wanted to help the Cuban people
and advance U.S. interests.

In an exit memo addressed to President Barack Obama but likely directed
at the next administration, Kerry called for lifting the trade
against Cuba and continuing Obama’s outreach toward the island nation,
instead of reversing it as President-elect Donald Trump has threatened.

“Our new relationship with Cuba has also removed an irritant in our
relationships throughout the Western Hemisphere,” Kerry wrote.

The 21-page memo summarizes several of what the administration sees as
its high points and argues for continuing several foreign policy
initiatives attacked by Trump.

The Obama administration, for example, has been working hard to protect
what it considers one of its most ambitious foreign policy initiatives:
ending more than 50 years of hostility with Cuba.

Since Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro announced plans to restore
ties on Dec. 17, 2014, the countries’ embassies have been reopened and
restrictions have been lifted on trade and . In March, Obama
became the first U.S. president to visit Havana in 88 years.

Trump has vowed to reverse Obama’s outreach unless the communist
government frees political prisoners and restores religious and
political freedoms.

The White House has warned Trump against carrying out the threats. Kerry
said doing so would hurt the Cuban people and damage U.S. standing in
the region.

U.S. policy toward Cuba has long been a source a tension between the
U.S. and other Latin American nations. Kerry said removing the issue had
strengthened ties and opened opportunities for the United States to work
on important initiatives, including the Colombia peace deal.

Email: fordonez@mcclatchydc.com; Twitter: @francoordonez.

Source: Kerry: Old Cuba policy was an “irritant” for rest of Latin
America | Miami Herald –
www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/article124928729.html

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