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Cablegate: May 21 -- Cuba Solidarity Day

VZCZCXYZ0015
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHWR #0603 1371213
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 161213Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY WARSAW
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 6463

UNCLAS WARSAW 000603

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/CCA AND EUR/NCE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KDEM PHUM PREL CU PL
SUBJECT: MAY 21 -- CUBA SOLIDARITY DAY

REF: A. STATE 51536

B. STATE 46997

1. Embassy Warsaw is working with the Government and local
NGO's on outreach efforts related to Cuba Solidarity Day,
described in reftels. Poland has an excellent track record
with respect to supporting freedom and democracy in Cuba, and
believes that its experience in the Solidarity trade movement
and its own transition from Communism to a vibrant democracy,
give it particular expertise that opponents to the Castro
regime can draw upon.

NGO Outreach
------------

2. Embassy Warsaw continues its close collaboration with
leading Polish NGO's working on Cuban outreach, including the
Freedom and Democracy Foundation and the Lech Walesa
Institute. Both have active outreach programs planned for
May 21. Chairman of the Freedom and Democracy Foundation
Tomasz Pisula is working with the Embassy, Capitol Hill
offices and USG agencies to promote Cuba Solidarity Day. On
May 21, the foundation will unveil two petitions calling for
the release of Cuba's political prisoners. One is currently
being circulated among members of the Polish parliament. We
understand that 130 deputies have signed that petition
already, with a goal of 170-200 deputies' signatures by May
21. The second will be a public petition available on-line
for interested people to sign, and advertised by leading
Polish daily Rzeczpospolita. It is not yet available since
the foundation is working with the President's Chancellery to
have President Kaczynski sign that petition first. We
understand that it is not identical to the American petition.
Its text is slightly different and drafted with an eye
towards Polish audiences. However, Mr. Pisula told us that
he worked with U.S. officials on this text before it was
finalized. We will highlight the Polish and American
petitions on our Embassy website.

3. The Lech Walesa Institute just launched its own internet
site on Solidarity with Cuba. It builds on the helpful and
productive ties between former Polish President Lech Walesa
and the dissident community. Embassy Warsaw facilitated a
DVC featuring Walesa and dissidents in Cuba in 2006. In
August 2007, CODEL Sires, including three Cuban-American
Representatives, travelled to Poland to meet with Polish
officials and the Cuban American Caucus. The CODEL traveled
with President Kaczynski on this plane to mark Solidarity
Anniversary events in Lubin, Poland, in addition to meeting
with other senior GOP officials.

Embassy Efforts
---------------

4. The Embassy website already links visitors with the
American petition in support of Cuba Solidarity Day, and it
will provide a similar link to the Polish petition once it is
available. We are planning media outreach to raise awareness
of the petition drives and Cuba Solidarity Day more broadly.
The Press Office is working to place a post-tailored version
of the op-ed provided reftel under Ambassador Ashe's
signature. The Ambassador and FM Radek Sikorski discussed
Cuba at some length in a meeting last month. Sikorski, like
other senior Polish officials, is deeply committed to the
cause of freedom in Cuba, and we will continue to consult
with the government to coordinate our efforts.
ASHE

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