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Cablegate: Costa Rica: Title Iii Suspension of the Libertad Act

VZCZCXYZ0007
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSJ #2040 3401446
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 061446Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9265
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SAN JOSE 002040

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR WHA/CCA AND WHA/CEN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD ETTC PREL CS
SUBJECT: COSTA RICA: TITLE III SUSPENSION OF THE LIBERTAD ACT

REF: A)STATE 158768, B) SAN JOSE 1061

1. The Costa Rican government remains one of the region's leading
critics of the Castro regime and a strong advocate for democratic
change and human rights reforms in Cuba. Costa Rica shows no signs
that it would consider re-establishing diplomatic relations with the
Castro government, which were severed in 1961. The USG should
encourage and bolster Costa Rica's continued support for democracy
in Cuba. Suspending Title III of the Libertad Act in regard to
Costa Rica remains in the USG national interest.

2. Costa Rican criticism of the Cuban government has continued
throughout the past six months. Jose Manuel Echandi, a member of
Costa Rica's legislative body, took special interest in the case of
an imprisoned dissident, Normando Hernandez. (One of Echandi's
principal advisers is a Cuban expatriate.) Per the legislator's
request, the Costa Rican immigration authority granted Hernandez
permission to enter the country for health reasons. After the Costa
Rican consul in Havana went to visit the imprisoned dissident in
May, the Cuban authorities transferred Mr. Hernandez to a more
restrictive prison, prompting the Costa Rican legislator to announce
that he would sue Cuba at the U.N. Commission on Human Rights. In
July, Costa Rican President Oscar Arias confirmed that his
administration would not reestablish diplomatic relations with
Castro's government.

3. The following responses are keyed to Ref A questions:

A) Post is unaware of any Costa Rican investments in Cuba.
B) Post is unaware of any bilateral trade agreements between Costa
Rica and Cuba.
C) Post is unaware of any exchange programs between Costa Rica and
Cuba. A limited number of Costa Rican students have accepted
scholarships to study medicine and film in Cuba, but Post is unaware
of any formal exchange or scholarship programs between Cuban and
Costa Rican universities. Post is unaware of any Costa Ricans who
have traveled to Cuba for medical treatment, given the availability
of publicly subsidized health care in Costa Rica. At any given
time, there are between six and ten Cuban doctors working in Costa
Rican hospitals, most of them providing radiological treatment at
Hospital Mexico in San Jose.
D) Costa Rica has worked to promote democracy and human rights in
Cuba. These efforts include the above actions by Diputado Jose
Manuel Echandi and President Arias's public statements in July and
earlier (see reftel B).
E) Since our last Title III Suspension Report (in June, Ref B),
there have been no/no high-level Costa Rican diplomatic visits to
Cuba or high-level Cuban diplomatic visits to Costa Rica.

BRENNAN

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