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Cablegate: Cuban Foreign Ministry Blasts Tip Report

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DE RUEHUB #0439/01 1621914
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O 101914Z JUN 08
FM USINT HAVANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3341
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RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3342

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HAVANA 000439

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR WHA/CCA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CU PGOV PHUM PINR PREL
SUBJECT: CUBAN FOREIGN MINISTRY BLASTS TIP REPORT

1. (U) Summary: On June 8 the Cuban Foreign Ministry
released a statement about the annual Trafficking in Persons
(TIP) Report that had been announced by the Secretary on June
4. The statement said that the report made unfounded
accusations that there existed internal trafficking of women
and children for the purpose of sexual exploitation, and that
Cuba was a destination for sex tourism. The Ministry stated
that the TIP report ignored the efforts of the GOC to avoid
such social evils connected with the tourism industry and to
punish severely anyone engaged in sexual exploitation. The
statement stated that the government had ended such evils in
1959 with the revolution. The Foreign Ministry took the
occasion to condemn the US economic embargo as the source of
many the social problems in Cuba. This year's TIP report in
fact documented several improvements in the suppression of
prostitution and the treatment of child victims of sexual
assault, but indicated that a major difficulty is that the
GOC does not acknowledge a problem and provides no
information on the extent of trafficking in persons within
the country End summary.

2. (U) On June 9 the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs
released a strongly worded statement condemning this year's
TIP report. The statement occupied a half column on page 3 of
the state owned newspaper Granma". The Ministry said that
"for the sixth consecutive year, the government of the United
States included Cuba in the list of countries that it accuses
of not taking significant steps to deal with the supposed
internal trafficking of women and children for the purposes
of sexual exploitation and classifies our country as
destination for sex tourism, and other serious and totally
unfounded accusations."

3. (U) The statement noted that for the first time the US
made recommendations to the GOC on how to confront the
problem. The Ministry noted that if the country does not
complete the recommendations of the Secretary of State, it
risks losing US financial Assistance. This is something that
the Ministry said has little relevance for Cuba since Cuba is
subject to a embargo "applied with all force and cruelty
trying to force the Cuban people to submit." Furthermore the
Ministry "rejects completely the contents of this new report"
that "distorts the Cuban reality in order to justify the
criminal policy of the blockade, aggressions and hostility of
the United States against Cuba."

4. (U) The statement went on to say that the report wants
to denigrate the commitment of the Revolution towards women
and children "recognized fully at an international level,"
and wants to discredit the healthy growth of the tourist
industry in Cuba. The Ministry said that "the United States,
and particularly the Bush administration, whose policies
attempt to attack permanently the rights of the Cuban people,
has neither the moral basis nor the credibility to make
accusations against Cuba, never mind to make cynical
recommendations about what our country should do."

5. (U) The Ministry represented that the United States

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