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Cablegate: Building Momentum for Human Rights and Democracy

R 032029Z JUL 08
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO WESTERN HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS DIPL POSTS
INFO EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS STATE 071974


SIPRNET DISTRIBUTION

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PHUM EUN CU
SUBJECT: BUILDING MOMENTUM FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEMOCRACY
IN CUBA - PRAISING THE EU,S NEW BENCHMARKS

1. (U) This is an action request. Please see paragraph 5.

2. (U) Summary. The European Union,s recent policy
statements on Cuba provide an opportunity to discuss respect
for human rights and the need for democratic change in Cuba
in Western Hemisphere countries. The EU placed respect for
human rights at the center of its policy, acknowledged
Cuba,s democratic opposition, and renewed its commitment to
promote "real progress towards pluralist democracy" in Cuba.
End Summary.

3. (U) On June 10, the U.S.-EU Summit Declaration reaffirmed
a Trans-Atlantic commitment to democracy and respect for
human rights in Cuba: "We encourage democratic processes in
the countries of the region consistent with the
Inter-American Democratic Charter. We welcome Cuba,s signing
of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
and urge the government to ratify the covenant and
demonstrate its commitment by unconditionally releasing all
political prisoners."

4. (U) On June 23, the EU Council set aside "political
sanctions" (restrictive measures) and offered to establish a
political dialogue with the Cuban government linked to what
we consider to be important human rights benchmarks: "The
Council called upon the Cuban government to improve
effectively the human rights situation by, inter alia,
releasing unconditionally all political prisoners, including
those who were detained and sentenced in 2003. This remains a
key priority for the EU. It also calls upon the Cuban
government to facilitate access of international humanitarian
organizations to Cuban prisons. The Council further called
upon the Cuban authorities to ratify and implement the
recently signed International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights and International Covenant on Economic, Social, and
Cultural Rights and urged again the Cuban government to make
real the commitment to human rights it has demonstrated
through the signing of these two human rights covenants." In
June 2009, the EU will continue its dialogue with the GOC if
the EU Council decides it is effective, taking into account
in particular the human rights benchmarks. The EU Council
also reaffirmed its policy of contacts with Cuba,s
democratic opposition.

5. (U) ACTION REQUESTED: Posts are encouraged to seek
opportunities to discuss the EU,s policy statements with
Host Governments, with human rights activists, and others as
appropriate to explore ways to build international momentum
in support of human rights and democratic change in Cuba.
Emphasis should be placed on the common vision shared by the
EU and the U.S. and link this vision to areas of commonality
with the Western Hemisphere,s commitment to democracy,
particularly the Inter-American Democratic Charter. Host
Governments should be encouraged to use their influence with
Cuba,s authorities to encourage the GOC to meet the EU,s
human rights benchmarks. You are encouraged to be creative in
suggesting ways Host Governments and others can broadly
engage Cuban civil society. For example, some may be willing
to talk with Cuba,s democratic opposition; others may be
more open to approaches such as promoting university contacts
with Cuba or allowing their diplomats be interviewed by
independent (dissident) journalists in Cuba.

Talking Points:

-- The U.S. and the European Union share common objectives in
Cuba: universal human rights and real progress towards
pluralist democracy. These values are also shared in the
Americas, a point underscored in the US-EU Summit statement
by the specific reference to the Inter-American Democratic
Charter.

-- The June 10, 2008 U.S.-EU Summit Declaration reaffirmed
this Trans-Atlantic commitment by urging the Cuban government
to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights and demonstrate its commitment by unconditionally
releasing all political prisoners.

-- Our shared goal with the European Union of the
unconditional release of all political prisoners is important
because it is a step that could help to create the conditions
for a broad dialogue among Cubans on the island about the
future of their country. This is a process the Western
Hemisphere can and should support.

-- The European Union has set human rights benchmarks for its
dialogue with the Cuban government, including: the unconditional
release of all political prisoners; implementation of the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; freedom
of information for Cubans, especially open access to the
Internet; and a "dual-track approach" of meeting with Cuba,s
internal democratic opposition in addition to the Cuban
government.

-- We encourage your government to use your dialogue with
Cuba,s authorities to reinforce the kind of principles
reflected in the EU position. We hope you can encourage them
to work to meet the EU,s human rights benchmarks, especially
the release of political prisoners and a genuine embrace of
the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
These are principles upon which all democratic nations should
be able to agree and could help map a path for Cuba,s
eventual return to the inter-American system.

-- We also encourage you to consider creative ways you can
reach out broadly to Cubans on the island and share your own
democratic experience. You can help Cuba,s civil society
play a constructive role in a process of change.

RICE

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