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Madeleine K. Albright On Cuba

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE

Office of the Spokesman

For Immediate Release July 30, 1999

STATEMENT BY SECRETARY OF STATE MADELEINE K. ALBRIGHT

July 30, 1999

The international spotlight on the human rights situation in Cuba will not be dimmed. On July 27 in Geneva, the Cuban delegation to the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) withdrew its motion to overturn a resolution condemning Cuban human rights practices that had been adopted this spring by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR).

Cuba withdrew its motion in the face of strong opposition around the globe. This opposition was based both on growing concern about Cuba's dismal human rights and on the initiative's attempt to undermine the purpose and work of the UNCHR. Cuba's failure to gain support for its underhanded maneuver is a victory for champions of human rights and for those who believe in the integrity of the UN system.

I congratulate the delegations of the Czech Republic and Poland for leading opposition to the Cuban proposal. Like Czech Deputy Foreign Minster Martin Palous, I hope that the Government of Cuba heeds the call of the Human Rights Commission and makes the necessary political reforms to enable it to rejoin the world-wide community of democratic nations.

Since the visit of Pope John Paul II in January 1998, the Cuban government has responded to numerous overtures and international expressions of good will with further repression, including the jailing of democratic and human rights activists. The four leaders of the Dissident Working Group -- Beatriz Roque, Felix Bonne, Rene Gomez Manzano, and Vladimir Roca -- remain imprisoned under harsh conditions for nothing more than calling for more openness in that country's political system.

I look forward to the day when the people of Cuba enjoy a government freely chosen by them that respects and promotes personal freedoms and human rights.

(###)


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