Joe Biden Gives Interview to Cuba's First Independent Digital News Site
By Kyle Munzenrieder Tue., May 27 2014 at 3:54 PM
A week ago Cuban dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez launched 14yMedio, the
first independent online media outlet in Cuba. Today it published its
first big "get": An interview with Vice President Joe Biden.
The chat follows a 2009 interview President Barack Obama gave to Sanchez
that was posted on her blog Generación Y. Biden essentially reiterated
many of the previously held positions and answers of his boss, but also
called for the release of American prisoner Alan Gross.
Gross, who was working as a contractor for the U.S. Agency for
International Development, was arrested and convicted in 2011 for
sneaking satellite communication devices into the island. He continues
to sit in Cuban jail, and, according to statements made through his
lawyer, he seems disillusioned with the American and Cuban governments.
"I cannot emphasize enough that Cuba's continued detention of Alan Gross
is a major impediment to improved relations between the United States
and Cuba," Biden said at the very end of the interview.
"We can be as creative as we like with our policy, but Alan's case
remains at the top of our list for resolution. He deserves to come home,
and should be released on humanitarian grounds."
Biden also took the opportunity to dispel the notion often promoted by
the Cuban government that America has imminent plans to invade Cuba and
overthrow the Castro regime.
"I can give you the simplest of answers, and that answer is no. Just as
President Obama said," he said.
"We support the development of a prosperous, secure and democratic Cuba
and continue to support the brave Cubans who seek to exercise their
freedoms. Our position is clear: only Cubans can or should determine the
future of Cuba. These accusations are a relic of a distant past. They
are being used to strike fear into the hearts of decent Cubans to divert
your attention from the problems closer to home. The Cuban people
deserve more honesty from their government."
Sanchez launched 14yMedio last week as an alternative to the other news
outlets on the island, which are controlled by the government. The site
was blocked in Cuba shortly after it launched, but as of this week
appears to have been unblocked.
Still, access to the Internet is still rare for many Cubans. Many can
only access the Internet by using satellite phones and cell phones (like
those Gross is accused of providing), though Cuba's state telephone
company has announced it will begin offering in-home Internet service
sometime this year.
Sanchez's interview with Biden took place in April while she was
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