Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Carter condemns embargo on Cuba and commitment to dialogue with Havana

The former U.S. president Jimmy Carter concludes today with a juicy three-day visit to Havana round results: able to meet with the top brass of the country, starting with Raul and Fidel Castro, to build bridges between the two countries, and received first hand information on economic reform process that is taking over the regime, which yesterday announced the granting of credits and loans to develop private enterprise on the island, and met with a dozen dissidents and former political prisoners, to support the human rights movement.

She also visited in prison by U.S. contractor Alan Gross, who paved the way to exit the country and vigorously condemned the U.S. embargo, which always sounds good in Havana, making a firm commitment to standardization bilateral relations. Most can not. Carter again showed their character skilled negotiator and man of dialogue.

He went everywhere and everyone said what he meant. Just as he spoke with the opposition, they expressed their solidarity and demanded freedom for Cubans to leave their country, called for the exclusion of Cuba from the list of countries Washington says sponsor terrorism, has sued to remove travel restrictions Americans to the island and claimed to Helms-Burton law, which aims to achieve regime change and has an extraterritorial basis.

On the case that currently bilateral relations more tense, Alan Gross, accused of subversion and sentenced to 15 years in prison, was extremely careful. He said he visited him in jail, defended his innocence and asked for his quick release, but similarly said that the case of five Cuban agents jailed in U.S.

for spying on the island known as the Cuban Five should be resolved with a pardon because it does not pose any danger to America. Carter, always discreet, he was sure he will soon Gross prison or acquitted by the Supreme Court, somewhat unlikely, or through a humanitarian measure. If it says the U.S.

exmandatario, there must be. Tuesday was met for several hours with Raul Castro and that he reiterated the "disposition" of his government to establish a dialogue with the United States "on any issue," but in terms of equality and without conditions. They also discussed the issue of economic changes and reforms to be introduced into the island after the Sixth Congress of the Communist Party.

The U.S. president said he was told that many of the concerns expressed by the population in recent months have been included in the documents discussed in Congress, and seemed to give a vote of confidence in the changes that are coming up in Cuba, where officials now openly admit that the old socialist model does not work.

During his third and last day in Havana, Carter held two meetings with a large group of opponents in Old Havana hotel where he stayed. In the first meeting with Yoani Sanchez and a group of bloggers, critics, along with veteran opponents as human rights activist Elizardo Sanchez, leader of the Varela Project, Oswaldo Payá, and the dissident Catholic Dagoberto Valdés.

In a second time, Carter met with a dozen former prisoners of conscience from the Group of 75-released recently through the mediation of the Catholic Church and representatives of the movement of the Ladies in White, relatives of opponents which make up that group. The dissenters said that a meeting was "warm and friendly," lasted about two hours, in which Carter offered "human support" and "moral support" to the opposition movement.

Loans to private initiative coinciding with Carter's trip, the official newspaper Granma reported on an economic measure of openness and novel timing is met, which was approved by the Cabinet at its last meeting: from now on, Cuban state-owned banks may grant loans to private farmers and cooperatives "to buy instruments of labor and supplies" in the commercial network, with the aim of "raising food production." It is also planning to "loans" to hundreds of thousands of employed persons to enable them start their businesses and "finance" investment "by purchasing goods, supplies and equipment, a measure of unprecedented support to private , complemented with permission for individuals to sell products and services to state enterprises, and to sign legal contracts with the state.

The measure in any country may look normal, but in Cuba is a revolutionary change, never better.

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