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Cablegate: May 21 - Day of Solidarity with the Cuban People

VZCZCXYZ0003
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMD #0493 1261344
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 051344Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY MADRID
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4705
INFO RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC

UNCLAS MADRID 000493

SIPDIS

FOR WHA/CCA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KDEM PHUM PREL EUN CU SP
SUBJECT: MAY 21 - DAY OF SOLIDARITY WITH THE CUBAN PEOPLE

REF: A. STATE 45792

B. STATE 46997
C. MADRID 283
D. MADRID 467

1. In response to refs a and b, Post conducts a vigorous,
ongoing program of outreach to the Cuban dissident community
here in Spain as well as a steady public diplomacy effort
designed to build support for peaceful democratic change in
Cuba. All this is of course in addition to steady engagement
with the GOS on the subject of Cuba, the focal point of which
is urging that the GOS seek concrete democratic change in its
dialogue with the GOC and that it not fail to engage civil
society and the dissident community in Cuba.

2. To summarize recent activity, in March, the Ambassador
published an op-ed on the need for meaningful transition in
Cuba. He stressed the need for the EU to show solidarity
with the Cuban people, not with the dictatorial government.
Also in March (and as detailed in ref c), we hosted a visit
by Elsa Morejon, wife of imprisoned dissident Dr. Oscar
Biscet. Ms. Morejon stayed at the Ambassador's residence,
and we facilitated a meeting with MFA Secretary of State for
Iberoamerica Trinidad Jimenez as well as with former
President Aznar. We also arranged encounters with the press
(ABC and Epoca). Also in March, the Ambassador hosted a
coffee at his residence for Cuban dissidents, including four
recently-released prisoners (Omar Pernet, Jose Gabriel Ramon
Castillo, Pedro Pablo Alvarez Ramos, and Alejandro Gonzales
Raga). In April, we hosted visits by Cuba Transition
Coordinator Caleb McCarry (ref d) and WHA Assistant Secretary
Tom Shannon (septel), both of which provided excellent
opportunities for engagement on Cuba in a variety of public
and private settings.

3. Post will continue its aggressive engagement on the issue
of Cuba and intends to place an op-ed on the occasion of May
21. In that regard, we would appreciate any building blocks
the Department could provide, in particular with regards to
tailoring the public diplomacy message regarding the EU
common position and the restrictive measures, where the U.S.
and Spain are moving in different directions. In addition,
the Charge d'Affaires plans to host an event for the Cuban
dissident community in Spain in observance of May 21.
Llorens

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