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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06HAVANA23547 2006-11-28 21:21:00 CONFIDENTIAL US Interests Section Havana
Cable title:  

IN WAKE OF GAO REPORT, DISSIDENTS ISSUE STATEMENT

Tags:   PHUM KDEM SOCI CU 
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L HAVANA 023547 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE DEPT FOR WHA/CCA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/28/2016
TAGS: PHUM KDEM SOCI CU
SUBJECT: IN WAKE OF GAO REPORT, DISSIDENTS ISSUE STATEMENT

Classified By: COM Michael Parmly for Reason 1.4(d).



1. (C) As debate swirls within Cuba's human rights community
over a GAO report that questions oversight and spending for
Cuban democracy programs, four leading activists have signed
a statement that they say is aimed at expressing support for
certain exile groups, including the Support Group for
Democracy. The "declaration," released November 25, was
signed by Martha Beatriz Roque of the Assembly to Promote
Civil Society; Vladimiro Roca of All United; Elizardo Sanchez
of the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National
Reconciliation; and Gisela Delgado Sablon of the Independent
Library Project. At least one press report plays up the
declaration's penultimate paragraph. It states (unofficial
translation): "We consider it very important to achieve
greater efficiency in the use of these funds. We believe
that one way to achieve this would be the elimination of a
series of existing restrictions on the sending of assistance
and trips to Cuba, which do nothing to help the democratic
struggle."



2. (C) Roque told us on November 28 that the declaration was
signed at the home of an unidentified Havana-based diplomat
and drafted at the initiative of All United, after a number
of dissidents, including Manuel Cuesta Morua of the Social
Democratic Current, indicated that they did not want any such
support. Roque acknowledged that many Cuban exiles are upset
with her signing the declaration; she has long opposed the
relaxation of travel restrictions. Roque noted, however,
that the declaration does not call for the scrapping of the
trade embargo or even all of the travel restrictions, but
merely "a series" of restrictions. She did not elaborate.



3. (C) Roca told us November 28 that the declaration was
intended partly as a response to "press manipulation in
Miami." He said it was misleading for journalists to review
the lengthy GAO report and then focus on a single,
controversial paragraph. "The crab and chocolate is not the
point," he said. "Mentioning these items in describing the
assistance to the opposition only serves the Cuban
Government's interests." Roca added that all unconditional
help from the United States is legitimate and beneficial.



4. (C) The Ladies in White - relatives of political prisoners
- are in disarray over how to respond to the GAO report.
Miriam Leiva told us November 28 that at the group's monthly
gathering on November 18, she was "lynched" by other key
members over a Ladies declaration she drafted, with what she
believed to be the group's consent, in support of certain
Miami-based groups. The declaration partly states
(unofficial translation): "We Ladies in White are grateful
for the medicine, clothes and food that our Cuban brothers in
the exile community and friends from various countries have
sent our prisoners and family members, through various
groups, including the Support Group for Democracy and Cuban
Democratic Action."

COMMENT


--------------------------





5. (C) With an article headlined, "Cuban Dissidents Ask U.S.
to Lift Travel, Aid Limits," the Miami Herald has missed the
mark. Not only does the article fail to capture the essence
of the declaration - a show of dissident support for activist
exile groups - it fails to articulate what type of
restriction relaxations the signatories are seeking. This is
hardly surprising, because the declaration is vague on these
points.
PARMLY