|05PRAGUE1658||2005-11-29 06:10:00||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy Prague|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L PRAGUE 001658
1. (C) Summary. The Czech Republic is a staunch supporter of
democracy, human rights, and fundamental freedoms in Cuba.
For years it sponsored the annual Cuba human rights
resolution in the UNCHR, and even though it is no longer a
member of the Commission, it supports the Cuba
country-specific resolution each year. In addition,
high-level Czech government officials have visited and
received Cuban dissidents in Florida and Prague to focus the
world's attention on the abuses of the Castro regime. In
recognition of the Czechs, high-profile commitment to Cuba,
Caleb McCarry, the State Department,s new Cuba Transition
Coordinator, recently visited Prague to thank the Czechs. End
2. (C) The Czech Republic has maintained an active interest
in advocating for freedom and human rights in Cuba since its
own transition from a totalitarian regime in 1989. First
former President Vaclav Havel, an international recognized
human rights activist, and then other members of the Czech
leadership, have focused efforts on Cuba and assisting the
exiled dissident movement. These efforts redoubled following
the 2003 severe crackdown by the Castro government on Cuban
dissidents that resulted in the imprisonment of many freedom
advocates. The GOCR condemned the crackdown, issuing an
official statement calling on the Government of Cuba to honor
its international human rights commitments and obligations.
FM Svoboda instituted a policy requesting all diplomats to
raise the issue of Cuba at any international meetings. This
policy, together with Czech protests, was delivered to the
Cuban Government via official protest notes. In addition,
Czech President Vaclav Klaus and the Czech Parliament issued
statements in support of Cuban dissidents and condemning the
situation in Cuba.
3. (C) In July 2003, then Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla
traveled to Florida to meet with representatives of Cuban
dissidents, all of whom were political prisoners. This visit
was returned in May 2004, when eight Cuban dissidents
traveled to Prague to meet with Senate Chairman Petr Pithart,
Civic Democratic Party leader Miroslav Topolanek, and Havel.
4. (C) Currently, the Czechs are advocating for a common
EU-Cuba policy that recognizes political dissidents and
provides sanctions for senior officials of the Castro regime.
Among EU countries, the Czech Republic is one of the
strongest supporters of the policy of inviting Cuban
dissidents to National Day festivities. The Czechs also
provide training and support to Cuban civil society through
the efforts of People in Need (PIN), the MFA,s NGO partner.
These activities highlight the committed engagement of the
Czechs on the issue of Cuban human rights. In recognition of
this commitment, Caleb McCarry, the new Cuba Transition
Coordinator, traveled to Prague in Oct 2005 to meet with
Czechs actively working to promote democracy in Cuba,
including GOCR officials, former dissidents, and PIN.
IMPORTANCE OF TITLE III WAIVER
5. (C) A waiver of the right to bring an action against
entities and nationals of the Czech Republic is necessary to
U.S. national interests. Loss of this waiver would jeopardize
our partnership with a country that has been willing to be at
the forefront of efforts to force the Castro regime to adhere
to international standards of human rights and fundamental
freedoms. From Sponsoring and supporting the annual Cuban
resolution to engaging in high-level diplomatic efforts with
Cuban dissidents, the Czech Republic's profile on this issue
is one of the strongest in Europe. This cooperation would
definitely be impacted negatively if the GOCR were to lose
the Title III waiver and feel that it is being unjustly
"punished" when in fact it has been one of our best advocates
on behalf of the Cuban cause.