Saturday, January 24, 2015

“Cordial and very positive” meeting with Roberta Jacobson, say several activists

"Cordial and very positive" meeting with Roberta Jacobson, say several
activists / 14ymedio
Posted on January 23, 2015

14ymedio/EFE, Havana, 23 January 2015 – Friday morning the US Assistant
Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Roberta Jacobson, met
with a broad representation of Cuban activists. The meeting had the
character of a working breakfast and the main objective was to hear from
dissidents and opponents with regards to the negotiations for the
reestablishment of relations between the United States and Cuba.

The meeting was held at the residence of the Chief of Mission of the US
Interests Section and, on the Cuban side, attended by members of various
civil society groups such as the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), the
Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN),
and the opposition group Estado de Sats (State of Sats).

José Daniel Ferrer, UNPACU leader, said, "The meeting was very
fraternal, frank and positive." According to the activist, the American
side was very receptive and "reaffirmed their interest in maintaining a
commitment to the demand to respect human rights, the current point of
greatest concern among Cuban civil society." The majority of those
present, according to Ferrer, "focused on detailing their concerns about
the future of Cuba," and also on the concern "that the decision about
the future of Cuba must rest with the Cuban people."

Some activist expressed their concerns that the government of the United
States had already made too many concessions in the process of
negotiations, while the Cuban government had only released 53 prisoners.

Elizardo Sanchez, president of the Cuba Commission on Human Rights and
National Reconciliation, said that "the meeting was marked by cordiality
and human closeness. With this invitation and with the reception to be
held tonight, the US delegation wanted to give a clear message of
appreciation to the peaceful efforts of civil society."

One of those absent from the meeting was the leader of the Ladies in
White, Berta Soler, who explained to EFE today that she decided not to
participate because she considered that the guest list was not balanced.
Soler, who has expressed her opposition to US diplomatic approach
towards Cuba and to the measures easing the embargo announced last week
in Washington, expressed her dissatisfaction, saying "the selection" did
not take into account "the diversity" of positions and opinions that
exist in the internal dissent on this issue.

In a press conference after the meeting, Jacobson said the purpose of
the change of policy toward Havana is to promote a "greater openness" in
Cuba, with more rights and freedoms and "to empower the Cuban people."
According to the US diplomat, the issue of human rights and democracy is
"crucial" for the United States, although she recognized that there
remain "profound differences" with the Cuban government on this question.

Several activists have called a press conference at the headquarters of
the CCDHRN to summarize the meeting and present their views on the
process of restoring relations between the two countries. The conference
will be held at 1:00 PM, at 3014 21st Street between 30th and 34th
streets, in the Playa neighborhood.

Source: "Cordial and very positive" meeting with Roberta Jacobson, say
several activists / 14ymedio | Translating Cuba -

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