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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09PRAGUE670 2009-11-13 15:27:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Prague
Cable title:  

CZECH REPUBLIC: REVIEW FOR WAIVER OF TITLE III OF

Tags:   CU ETRD ETTC EZ PREF XG 
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VZCZCXRO7593
PP RUEHAG RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHPG #0670 3171527
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 131527Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY PRAGUE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1916
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
EUMC/END USE MONITORING COLLECTIVE
RUEHUB/USINT HAVANA 0118
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L PRAGUE 000670 

SIPDIS

WHA/CCA FOR GZAMBRANO, EUR/CE FOR JBERGEMANN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/13/2019
TAGS: CU ETRD ETTC EZ PREF XG
SUBJECT: CZECH REPUBLIC: REVIEW FOR WAIVER OF TITLE III OF
THE LIBERTAD ACT

REF: PRAGUE 258

Classified By: Political-Economic Counselor Charles O. Blaha; Reasons 1
.4 b and d.



1. (U) The Czech Republic has a strong record of active
engagement and support for democracy, human rights and
fundamental freedoms in Cuba. Former Czech President Vaclav
Havel established the Czech government's principled position
on Cuba during his administration, following the Czech
Republic's own transition from a totalitarian regime in 1989.
All subsequent Czech political leaders have continued this
policy of support for the peaceful democratic dissident
movement in Cuba and have consistently called for the release
of all political prisoners. The Czech Republic remains
steadfast in calling for Cuba to release all political
prisoners, open dialogue with the opposition and hold a free
election. The MFA Department for Human Rights and Transition
Policy maintains Cuba as one of its "priority countries," and
thus provides financial assistance to Czech NGOs, such as
People in Need, which provides humanitarian aid, capacity
training and other support for journalists, dissidents and
their families.



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


Czech Engagement within the EU


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


2.(C) Within the EU, the Czech Republic remains one of our
strongest and most vocal allies on human rights issues,
particularly with respect to Cuba. In the last year, the
Czechs have hosted public events with dissidents from Cuba
and Burma. Since our last update, the Czech Republic has
concluded its EU Presidency, which covered the first six
months of 2009. In this role the Czechs walked a fine line
between expressing bilateral views and representing the
consensus of the 27 EU member states. Because of their
obligations as EU President, the Czechs met this year with
Cuban government officials. As noted in Reftel, on May 11
Czech FM Jan Kohout met with Cuban FM Rodriguez and with
Cuban officials attending the EU-RIO group in Prague. There
have not been any subsequent high-level meetings since this
last report. Within the EU the Czechs continue to urge other
EU member states to keep the pressure on the Cuban regime to
implement reforms. As well, the Czechs remain among the
strongest advocates of inviting Cuban dissidents to EU member
state national day festivities.



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


No Substantive Czech Trade or Investment


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




3. (U) The Czech Republic does not have any foreign
investments in Cuba. As an EU member state, the GOCR does
not have bilateral trade agreements with any country,
including Cuba. There are, however, no trade restrictions on
private companies that want to do business in Cuba.
According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MPO), in
2007, the Czech Republic exported USD 19.5 million worth of
goods to Cuba and imported USD 4.1 million worth of goods
from Cuba. In 2008, the Czech Republic exported USD 21,8
million worth of goods and imported USD 4.6 million. During
the first nine months of 2009, Czech exports to Cuba totalled
only USD 7.0 million while imports from Cuba reached USD 3.4
million. There are no student exchange programs.



4. (C) Comment: A waiver of the right to bring an action
against entities and nationals of the Czech Republic is
necessary to U.S. national interests. The Czech Republic has
been at the forefront of efforts to force the Cuban regime to
meet international standards of human rights. Our
cooperation would definitely be negatively affected if the
GOCR were to lose the Title III waiver, especially since it
has been one of our best partners on Cuba. Witin the EU, the
Czechs have one of the highest profiles on promotion of human
rights issues around the world.
Thompson-Jones