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Cablegate: Media Reaction On Unchr Resolution On Human Rights

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TEGUCIGALPA 000803

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA, WHA/PD, WHA/CCA, WHA/PPC, AND WHA/CEN
STATE FOR DRL, DRL/MLA, IO, INR, AND IIP/G/WHA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OIIP KPAO PHUM PREL KDEM CU HO CHR
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION ON UNCHR RESOLUTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
IN CUBA, APRIL 2, 2004


1. Editorial in Tegucigalpa-based moderate daily "El
Heraldo" on 4/3 entitled "The resolution." "President
Maduro and the Minister of Foreign Affairs have stated that
in the Cuba affair Honduras is acting as a sovereign state,
in accordance with the U.N. Charter."

"We're going to take their word on this issue, and we're
assuming that the resolution only intends to encourage the
Castro regime to admit a representative of the U.N. High
Commissioner for Human Rights."

"The Cuban people, to whom we as Hondurans are grateful for
their generosity and solidarity, shouldn't feel betrayed by
Honduras. On the contrary, they should take advantage of
any opportunity to help them ensure their freedom, the most
fundamental right of any human being."

2. Op-ed by Ramon Villeda Bermudez (Liberal Party
Congressman and member of the External Affairs Committee in
Congress) in Tegucigalpa-based liberal daily "La Tribuna" on
4/3 entitled "The Passion of Castro." "As we approach Holy
Week, the government has finally acknowledged that it will
table an initiative, which isn't ours, to stick our nose
into Cuba."

"There's an evident duality in a government where the
President allows his wife to ask for assistance from the
same government he's condemning. Although I'm not
sympathetic to Fidel Castro and his regime, I'm aware that
the Honduran people are very grateful for the aid we've
received from Cuba."

"Looking at the wording of the resolution, the proposal
looks fine, expressing its concern with the human rights
situation in Cuba, which is good. However, other experts
have seen this `initiative' as another attack by the U.S. on
the Castro regime, using another puppet."

"We all want Cuba to comply with respect for human rights,
but we also want the government of the National Party to
respect the dignity of all Hondurans."

"This year, the obedient Honduran government has replaced
the Passion of Christ with the Passion against Castro."

3. Article in San Pedro Sula-based liberal daily "Tiempo" on
4/3 entitled "Congressmen outraged by resolution to condemn
Cuba." "Some Congressmen expressed their indignation and
outrage as a result of the Honduran resolution against Cuba.
National Party deputy Oswaldo Ramos Soto said, `I'm
surprised by this attitude: I've talked to deputies of other
parties and they don't agree with the decision of the Maduro
administration. I'm just another Honduran and a
Nationalist, but I don't agree with the position of my
party'."

"Liberal Party deputy Omar Cerna said, `I'm outraged by what
the government is doing. we should go out on the streets to
protest against the government's ominous external policy by
getting involved in issues of other countries'."

4. Article in Tegucigalpa-based moderate daily "El Heraldo"
on 4/3 entitled "Honduras hasn't asked for a condemnation of
Cuba." "In a joint press conference with the President of
Congress Porfirio Lobo, President Maduro said, `Our proposal
doesn't condemn Cuba, it's only a resolution to request that
Cuba admit a representative from the U.N. Commissioner for
Human Rights, as we have done twice before. we aren't
trying to insult a government that has been a friend to us
for quite some time'. Lobo said, `There's nothing wrong
with the resolution. I think Cuba should admit a
representative of the U.N.. Honduras hasn't betrayed Cuba,
which has an opportunity to show its compliance with respect
for human rights'."

5. Article in Tegucigalpa-based moderate daily "El Heraldo"
on 4/3 entitled "First Lady Aguas Ocana received only
support and appreciation in Cuba." "After returning from an
official visit to Cuba, First Lady Ocana abstained from
making any comment on the political tension between Honduras
and Cuba. She said, `We appreciate the help we've gotten
from Cuba. they were very open to our requests, and they
plan to help us to establish new shelters for abused women
and children'."

6. Article in Tegucigalpa-based moderate daily "El Heraldo"
on 4/4 entitled "Resolution was written in Spanish."
"Leonidas Rosa Bautista, Honduran Minister of Foreign
Affairs, said, `The text of the resolution was written in
Honduras. we wrote it in the Spanish of Cervantes, and it
was later translated into English, and that has led the
Cuban government and others to believe that the U.S. gave it
to us'."

7. On 4/4, the Tegucigalpa-based moderate daily "El Heraldo"
published an interview with the Minister of Government and
former Ambassador, Jorge Ramon Hernandez Alcerro, in which
he said, `The Maduro government has had a consistent foreign
policy in support of the protection of human rights,
considering our own principles and goals. the government of
Honduras will defend the freedom of people in Honduras,
Cuba, or anywhere in the world'."

8. Article in Tegucigalpa-based liberal daily "La Tribuna"
on 4/4 entitled "ASONOG criticizes Honduran position on
Cuba." "In a press release, ASONOG, a Honduran NGO,
criticized the Honduran government for presenting a
resolution on Cuba, saying that, `The Honduran state doesn't
have a moral right to demand respect for human rights from
Cuba, when it's been unable to resolve the internal problems
related to poverty which affect almost 80% of the Honduran
people, denying them their utmost human right: their right
to lead a life with dignity'."

9. Article in San Pedro Sula-based liberal daily "Tiempo" on
4/4 entitled "Tense relationship between Honduras and Cuba".
"About 600 Hondurans, who have been granted a scholarship
from the Cuban government, released a public letter saying
that, `we're proud of being Hondurans, but we're ashamed by
the unscrupulous decision taken by our president. Maduro
has betrayed our country, because he went against the will
of most of our people, selling our dignity for a few dollars
more'."

10. Article in Tegucigalpa-based liberal daily "La Tribuna"
on 4/5 entitled "Hondurans in the U.S. pleased with Honduran
resolution to the U.N." "In a letter to President Maduro,
the Miami-based organization of Honduran immigrants in the
U.S., Unidad Hondurena, said, `The resolution should be more
vigorous, and it should ask for the immediate release of
more than a hundred political prisoners. It's a step in the
right direction, but it won't be that effective if we don't
make a strong condemnation of human right violations of the
Castro regime'."

Palmer

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