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Cablegate: Marking May 21 - Day of Solidarity with Cuban

VZCZCXRO7320
OO RUEHPT
DE RUEHBY #0508 1400742
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 190742Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY CANBERRA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9580
INFO RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHEHAAA/THE WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEHBN/AMCONSUL MELBOURNE PRIORITY 5264
RUEHPT/AMCONSUL PERTH PRIORITY 3546
RUEHDN/AMCONSUL SYDNEY PRIORITY 3459

UNCLAS CANBERRA 000508

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/CCA AND EAP/ANP
WHITE HOUSE FOR JULIE CRAMM

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PREL KDEM KPAO CU AS
SUBJECT: MARKING MAY 21 - DAY OF SOLIDARITY WITH CUBAN
PEOPLE - IN AUSTRALIA

REF: A. STATE 51536
B. HARKER-JACKSON TELECON OF MAY 16
C. STATE 46997
D. STATE 45792
E. CANBERRA 452

1. (SBU) Further to Ref E, and as requested Ref A, U.S.
Mission Australia has developed additional activities to help
mark May 21 - Day of Solidarity with the Cuban People, as
outlined in para 2, below. (We assume Ref B notification of
a possible call by Deputy Assistant to the President Julie
Cramm was to review Mission activities in relation to the
President's May 21 statement on Cuba Solidarity Day.)

2. (SBU) The U.S. Mission's proposed activities to mark May
21 as of COB May 19 include the following:

a. The Public Affairs Counselor and his staff have been in
contact with print media in Australia's two largest cities,
Sydney and Melbourne, regarding the draft op-ed sent to post
last week (Ref A.) Major Melbourne papers have turned it
down; we are awaiting a response from the Sydney editors.

b. We will be highlighting the Day of Solidarity with the
Cuban People on-the Embassy's InterNet website.

c. Member of Parliament Michael Danby (prominent Australian
Labor Party (ALP) member from Melbourne, and Chair of the
Australian-American Parliamentary Friendship Association)
volunteered to circulate a statement in support of the Cuban
people among other MPs and offered to write an op-ed for the
Australian Financial Review, a highly-respected national
newspaper. (We have provided him background information
contained in Ref A, as well as the Cuba sections of the Human
Rights Report and the Freedom House Country Reports.)

d. Consulate General Sydney successfully contacted Luis
Garcia, a prominent Cuban-born exile who recently published
his memoirs, entitled Child of the Revolution: Growing Up in
Castro's Cuba, detailing his family's mistreatment under
Castro, who has tentatively accepted an invitation to a
consulate social event on May 22 (he is unavailable on May
21.).

e. CG Melbourne has conducted outreach to a Member of the
Victorian State Parliament with close ties to the general
Hispanic community in that area. We are exploring his
suggestions that the Mission consider screening one or two
documentaries focusing on human rights in Cuba, and that we
seek a prominent federal member of Parliament to circulate a
public petition affirming support for the people of Cuba.

f. We have approached officials in the Americas Division of
the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). DFAT has
confirmed the GOA has no plans to mark Cuban Solidarity Day,
preferring quiet diplomacy with regards to Cuba. (Note: Cuba
is opening an embassy in Canberra in two or three months,
according to DFAT. While Havana has not yet nominated an
ambassador, some advance staff arrived last week, and Cuba
has already opened a consulate in Sydney. End note.)

3. (SBU) We may not receive confirmation until the morning of
May 21 (evening of May 20 EDT - Canberra is 14 hours ahead of
Washington, D.C.) that local papers have published our draft
op-ed or the one promised by Michael Danby, MP, thus we would
suggest no reference to them be inserted into the President's
statement or other public announcement unless and until we
can confirm this telephonically. The point of contact for
such confirmation is: Scott Weinhold, Counselor for Public
Affairs, tel: (o) 61-2-6214-5770; cell: 61-402-956-119; home:
QAffairs, tel: (o) 61-2-6214-5770; cell: 61-402-956-119; home:
61-2-6166-0644.

STETTENBAUER

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