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Cablegate: Australia: Report On May 21 - Day of Solidarity

VZCZCXRO0564
OO RUEHPT
DE RUEHBY #0535 1430738
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 220738Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY CANBERRA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9612
INFO RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHEHAAA/THE WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEHBN/AMCONSUL MELBOURNE PRIORITY 5280
RUEHPT/AMCONSUL PERTH PRIORITY 3562
RUEHDN/AMCONSUL SYDNEY PRIORITY 3477

UNCLAS CANBERRA 000535

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: AUSTRALIA: REPORT ON MAY 21 - DAY OF SOLIDARITY
WITH THE CUBAN PEOPLE

REF: A. CANBERRA 508

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

1. (U) As requested Ref B, post hereby furnishes the
following report on activities undertaken by the U.S. Mission
to observe May 21 - Day of Solidarity with the Cuban People.

2. (SBU) Parliamentary Outreach: Michael Danby, a prominent
Member of Parliament, distributed the following statement to
other members of Parliament, along with copies of the Cuba
report in the U.S. Department of State's 2007 Human Rights
Report and the Freedom House Country Reports for 2007:

Begin text:

Dear Colleagues

Today, May 21, marks Cuban Solidarity Day. The date is
linked to the anniversary of the death of Pedro Luis Boitel,
a poet and activist, who died while on a hunger strike in a
Cuban jail in 1972.

The purpose of this event is to promote peaceful democratic
change in Cuba, by demonstrating broad and robust support for
the Cuban people, and to reflect on the plight of prisoners
of conscience and the dearth of civil and political freedoms
within that state. Attached you'll find a 2007 human rights
report from the U.S. Department of State, as well as a human
rights report from Freedom House, also on the human rights
situation in Cuba.

I encourage you as members of this Parliamentary Friendship
Group to mark today by demonstrating your support for
ordinary Cubans, by visiting www.solidaridadcuba.org to find
out more information about Cuban Solidarity Day or through
signing a petition for the release of Cuba's political
prisoners at www.peticioncuba.org.

Kind regards

Michael Danby MHR
Chair, Australia-U.S. Parliamentary Friendship Group

End text.

(Note: Mr. Danby had also volunteered to draft an op-ed for
the Financial Review, but the newspaper had not published any
Cuba-related item as of COB May 22. End note.)

3. (SBU) Outreach to the Cuban community: CG Sydney hosted a
coffee for prominent author and Cuban exile Luis Garcia on
the morning of May 22. Garcia, whose parents sought
political asylum in Spain and then migrated to Australia in
the 1960's, was familiar with President Bush's gesture in
proclaming May 21 a Day of Solidarity with the Cuban People,
and commended the United States commitment to principles of
democracy and freedom.

4. (U) U.S. Mission Webpages: The webpages for the U.S.
Embassy and Consulate Generals (CG) Melbourne, Perth and
Sydney prominently featured a Solidarity Day article, along
with background information and the President's May 21
proclamation and his remarks to the media on the occasion.

5. (U) Local media coverage: Despite aggressive attempts by
the Embassy and CGs to place the Solidarity Day op-ed in
prominent papers in Australia, including the Sydney Morning
Herald, The Australian, The Melbourne Age, and the Canberra
Times, no papers have picked up the item to date.

MCCALLUM

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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