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Cablegate: Cuba Transition Coordinator Mccarry's Discussions

VZCZCXRO5752
RR RUEHAG
DE RUEHHE #1032 2841343
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 111343Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY HELSINKI
TO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
RUEHUB/USINT HAVANA 0004

C O N F I D E N T I A L HELSINKI 001032

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/11/2016
TAGS: PREL PGOV ETRD CU FI EUN
SUBJECT: CUBA TRANSITION COORDINATOR MCCARRY'S DISCUSSIONS
WITH FINNISH EU PRESIDENCY OFFICIALS


Classified By: POLCHIEF GREGORY THOME FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D)

1. (C) Summary: Cuba Transition Coordinator Caleb
McCarry delivered well-received messages in Helsinki
Sept. 29, emphasizing that change is imminent and that
Europe and the United States have a historic opportunity
to help foster a transition to democracy on the island.
Finnish EU Presidency officials agreed that the world's
democracies must send a message of hope to the Cuban
people and that the impetus for change must come largely
from the island. The GOF, for its part, supports a
joint US-EU statement -- or at least parallel US and EU
statements -- urging transition in Cuba, but cautions
that finding consensus among member states will take
time. End Summary.

2. (U) WHA Cuba Transition Coordinator Caleb McCarry
visited Helsinki Sept. 29 to discuss the work of the
Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba (CAFC) and the
Department's strategy for fostering democratic
transition on the island with senior Finnish EU
Presidency officials. He also held a very useful round
of PD events, including on-the-record interviews with
journalists and discussions at Helsinki University.

3. (SBU) In meetings with Finnish MFA Director-General
for the Americas and Asia Elina Kalkku, Office Director
for Human Rights Johanna Suurpaa and Office Director for
Latin America Anne Lammila, McCarry emphasized that
change has already begun in Cuba, and that now, for the
first time in 47 years, the Cuban people have an
opportunity to choose a path toward democracy and
economic liberalization. The CAFC's approach is careful
and well-planned, he said; the US wants to respectfully
offer what encouragement it can now, while also
preparing for the significant humanitarian and
reconstruction needs that will emerge once a transition
truly begins. McCarry urged the EU to recognize that it
is incumbent on Europe, the US and all the world's
democracies to send messages of hope and encouragement
to those living on the island -- including even figures
within the regime who may seek change. He also briefed
the Finns on the encouraging talks the US has had with
Spain, which to a greater extent has been leading EU
efforts on Cuba, and asked for Finnish support in
crafting either a joint US-EU statement on Cuba, or
parallel statements.

4. (C) Finnish interlocutors welcomed the US approach on
Cuba, agreeing with our message that the only hope for
an improved human right situation on the island -- as
well as economic development -- is through greater
democracy. Kalkku described the current situation in
Cuba, with Castro's illness, as "an opening." The EU
must send a message of encouragement and hope to Cuban
civil society, to individuals within the regime who seek
change, and to the Cuban people, she said. All 25 EU
member states agree on this approach, Kalkku continued;
however, there is currently less agreement regarding the
best way to proceed as well as the utility at this time
of a joint US-EU statement. Several MS (and our GOF
interlocutors included Finland among this group) agree
that now is the time for a bold, joint effort to press
for democratic change. Others, however, believe that
economic change may be easier to implement first and do
not favor a public EU position. (In particular, Latin
America Director Lammila encouraged the US to keep
pressing for a US-EU statement -- and not a US-Spain
statement.) Although forging consensus among all 25 MS
will now be a speedy process and did not offer
timelines, the Finns emphasized their national position
of support and promised to do what they could to promote
agreement "at least" on issuing parallel US-EU
statements.

5. (C) Comment: McCarry's messages on promoting
transition in Cuba were well received by the Finns. As
a small-country EU Presidency with limited Latin America
resources (there is no Finnish Embassy in Havana), their
task in helping the EU to step up with a more focused
Cuba will be a tough one. Still, we can count on
Finland to do what it can, and we will continue to
support the Finnish Presidency's efforts. End Comment.
HYATT

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