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Cablegate: Cuba: Review of Suspension of Libertad Act Title

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 SANTO DOMINGO 003161

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR WHA/CCA, WHA/CAR, WHA/EPSC,
USSOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CU ETTC DR PREL SMIG EINV ETRD
SUBJECT: CUBA: REVIEW OF SUSPENSION OF LIBERTAD ACT TITLE
III - DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

REF: A. STATE 108052

B. 04 SANTO DOMINGO 6466
C. 04 SANTO DOMINGO 6584

1. (SBU) Summary: Subsequent to the inauguration of the
administration of President Leonel Fernandez last year, the
Dominican Republic shifted its vote on the Cuba resolution at
the annual UN Human Rights Committee meeting from "yes" (with
the United States) in 2004 to "abstain" in 2005. However,
there has been no other marked change in the Dominican
Republic's situation with regard to Cuba. Interaction is
limited to officially agreed exchanges involving small
numbers of Cuban sports coaches and Dominican medical
students and visits to Cuba by private Dominican tourists.
The Fernandez administration has continued to take a low
profile on Cuban issues. In response to Ref A, Embassy
considers that U.S. national interests and Dominican
Government actions justify renewal of the waiver of Title III
of the Libertad Act with regard to Dominican businesses. End
summary.

Dominican businesses and Cuba
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2. (SBU) As in our last report (Ref B), Embassy considers
that U.S. national interests and the actions of the Dominican
Government justify a renewal of the waiver of Title III of
the Libertad Act with regard to Dominican businesses that may
be involved in joint ventures with the Government of Cuba or
significant trade with Cuba. Embassy inquiries have not
resulted in identification of any Dominican companies or
entities with investments or joint ventures that would
trigger Title III concerns. There is very little Dominican
investment in Cuba, and Embassy has no information about any
conflict between Dominican investors and U.S. citizens with
property claims in Cuba. Embassy has not received complaints
by any U.S. citizens against any Dominican company related to
any investment in Cuba or Dominican Republic-Cuba trade.


Dominican votes at the UNCHR
- - - - - - - - - - - - -

3. (U) In April, during the annual meeting of the UN Human
Rights Commission in Geneva, the Dominican Republic abstained
on a resolution calling for continuation of the UNCHR's
scrutiny of the human rights situation in Cuba. The
resolution, sponsored by the United States, was approved.
This represented a Dominican shift from last year, when under
the administration of former President Mejia the Dominican
Republic cast a decisive vote approving a resolution on Cuba,
Also in April, 2005, the Dominican Republic joined the
United States in opposing a Cuban-sponsored resolution
criticizing treatment of detainees at Guantanamo.

Cuban-Dominican technical cooperation and exchanges
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

4. (SBU) The administration of President Fernandez has
continued to take a low profile on Cuban issues. Recently
the local press ran a photo of about 15 Cuban sports coaches
visiting the Dominican Republic to help train local athletes,
and reported a sister-city arrangement between the mayor of
the north coast city of Puerto Plata and the Cuban city of
Matanzas. MFA Americas Director Francia Sencion told poloff
on May 17 that there has been no increase in the number or
diversity of exchanges since the annual Cuban-Dominican Mixed
Commission meeting last November, notwithstanding statements
to the press by both sides at that time favoring increased
bilateral cooperation. The main activities, which are valued
by Dominican authorities, continue to be medical studies in
Cuba provided to indigent Dominicans and exchanges of sports
trainers to improve performance of Dominican athletes.

5. (SBU) According to Sencion, 50 Dominicans per year
continue to receive all-inclusive scholarships at a medical
school in Havana; at any time there are some 200-250 students
enrolled in various stages of their medical education. These
students are vetted by Dominican authorities to ensure they
are among the brightest Dominican youth and are from
low-income families. She has visited the medical school and
was impressed by the quality of the instruction and the
students' apparent success in learning in that environment.

6. (SBU) The Dominican Government and sports associations
also appreciate the periodic visits by Cuban sports trainers,
who are considered to be skilled and effective. The Cubans'
training assistance has significantly boosted the performance
of Dominican athletes, as evidenced for example by their
winning many medals during the Panamerican Games that were
held here in 2003.

7. (SBU) There has been no increase in the level of activity
in other areas highlighted by the agreed cooperation and
exchange program for 2005, according to Sencion. These areas
(Ref C) include primary sanitation systems, agriculture and
animal husbandry, culture, science and technology, higher
education, women's issues, fishing industry, and physical
planning.

8. (SBU) Sencion was unaware of the date for the next mixed
commission meeting, which had been planned for September of
this year in Havana. Technical Secretary of the Presidency
Temistocles Montas, a top official close to President
Fernandez, heads the Dominican side in these annual talks.

9. (SBU) Embassy contacts occasionally tell us they have
visited Cuba as tourists. Embassy's impression is that the
number of such visitors is small.
10.(SBU) According to local press, a 2002 bilateral accord on
"administration of criminal sentences" provides for exchanges
of prisoners sentenced as resident aliens so they can serve
their prison time in their country of nationality. Cuban
authorities reportedly have approved the first Dominican
Government request for transfer of a prisoner, who was
arrested in 2002 shortly before the agreement was signed,
convicted, and sentenced to seven years for attempting to
smuggle Cuban baseball players to the Dominican Republic
using false passports.


Kubiske

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