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Cablegate: Argentina: Cuba Solidarity Day

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #0701 1432054
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 222054Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1123
INFO RUCNMER/MERCOSUR COLLECTIVE
RUEHUB/USINT HAVANA 0089

UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 000701

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: KDEM PHUM PREL EU CU AR
SUBJECT: ARGENTINA: CUBA SOLIDARITY DAY

REF: (A) BUENOS AIRES 0597 (B) STATE 46997

1. (SBU) Embassy Buenos Aires placed in newspaper-of-record "La
Nacion" on May 21 an op-ed written by Cuban independent journalist
Jorge Olivera-Castillo.

2. (SBU) Also per ref A, post sought to contact Dr. Roberto
Quinones, the son of Cuban neurosurgeon Hilda Molina who, since
1994, has been denied permission to leave Cuba to join her family.
Quinones declined a meeting with the Ambassador, and it subsequently
became apparent why. On May 21, Argentine media reported that the
GOC had issued a passport to Hilda Molina's 89-year-old mother,
Hilda Morejon. Although Morejon has not yet been granted an exit
visa, and her daughter's request to leave the island shows no
progress, the GOC's move won the praise of President Cristina
Fernandez de Kirchner (CFK), who interpreted it as "a gesture to the
Quinones family and the Government of Argentina." Interior Minister
Florencio Randazzo said "this family's reunion is the result of many
entreaties undertaken by the GOA" for humanitarian reasons.
Argentine media reported that Dr. Quinones's Argentine wife,
Veronica Scarpati, had traveled to Cuba a few days earlier in
anticipation of the announcement to help with travel arrangements.


3. (SBU) PAS asked leading Radio 10 and Cable signal C5N to organize
an interview with Dr. Hilda Molina for Cuban Solidarity Day. These
outlets had previously interviewed her about her mother's inability
to travel to Argentina to see family because of Cuban government
restrictions. The interview was held on May 21st by Radio 10 and
coincided with the unexpected announcement that the Cuban government
had restored her mother's passport. The news immediately hit
television as a breaking story and was a front page headline in all
major papers May 22nd.

4. (SBU) Comment: Although initial media coverage interpreted the
GOC "gesture" as part of an "opening" by the Raul Castro regime,
follow-up stories seem to be picking up on the unfairness of
Molina's plight.

WAYNE

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