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Cablegate: Czechs Share Usg Perspective On Castro's

VZCZCXRO6497
RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHPG #0125 0561528
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 251528Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY PRAGUE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0096
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHUB/USINT HAVANA 0101

UNCLAS PRAGUE 000125

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL CU EZ EUN
SUBJECT: CZECHS SHARE USG PERSPECTIVE ON CASTRO'S
RESIGNATION

REF: STATE 18317

1. (SBU) Czech MFA officials in the Department of the
Americas and the Department of Human Rights and Transition
Policy, confirmed and thanked Embassy officials for our
points on the current situation in Cuba. On February 19, the
Czech MFA released a statement (similar to Secretary Rice's
subsequent statement of February 24), expressing the hope
that Cuba will now begin to implement necessary reforms,
while also urging Cuba to release all political prisoners,
open dialogue with the opposition and hold a free election.
The Czech MFA has no plans at this point to release another
statement. The full statement dated February 19 is listed
below in paragraph 2.

2. (U) Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the
Czech Republic on the resignation of Fidel Castro from the
highest state positions
The Cuban media announced today that Cuban leader Fidel
Castro has resigned the position of the Chairman of the
National Council and the Supreme Commander of the Cuban Armed
Forces. Since July 2006, these positions had been
temporarily held by his brother Raul Castro due to Fidel
Castro's deteriorated health condition. According to
accessible information, Raul Castro will lead the country
even after Fidel Castro's resignation. This development has
been expected because Fidel Castro has indicated his plan
before.

Although it is just a formal confirmation of the status quo,
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic
expresses the hope that Cuba will thus set on a path of
necessary reforms of the political and economic system that
would lead this beautiful country out of the stagnation of
the past long years. The future development should be aimed
at releasing all political prisoners, opening a dialogue with
the political opposition, and holding a free election.
Dodman

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