Secretary of State John Kerry called for a “genuine democracy” in Cuba on Friday as the American flag was raised here for the first time in more than half a century, formally reopening the U.S. Embassy.
His comments drew a firm riposte from Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, who defended Cuba at a news conference with Kerry and criticized the United States’ own record on rights, referring to racial strife and police brutality in America.
On the other end of the spectrum, Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton has been fighting for the U.S.to lift its trade embargo against Cuba.
Alvarez says he’s hoping that Kerry will take a ride in one of the classic U.S. cars that have become emblematic of Cuba for tourists.
These hardliners reject the idea of worthwhile change and reconciliation in Cuba, holding fast to their insistence that the removal of the Castro family and the Communist Party from power represents the only acceptable transformation of the island’s political and economic life.
Cuba reopened its embassy in Washington last month but the former Cuban leader Fidel Castro has blasted the United States for not lifting its trade embargo.
“Opening the door to an embassy in Cuba will not open the door to democracy for the Cuban people”.
Later in the day Cuba’s lead negotiator in talks with Washington told reporters that the island’s internal affairs would never be on the table and Havana would never move “one millimeter” to placate enemies in the United States.
Kerry will attend a reception at the chief of mission’s residence later Friday where he is expected to meet with Cuban activists.
Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush is calling Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to Cuba “a birthday present for Fidel Castro – a symbol of the Obama administration’s acquiescence to his ruthless legacy”.
In an article entitled “Reality and Dreams”, Castro said the U.S. social justice must be consolidated so that all people may have access to education, health and nutrition.
However, he reiterated Havana’s demand to re-establish relations with the United States, which have been ruptured more than 50 years ago.
Rubio, a Cuban-American senator from Florida, slammed the Obama administration for the absence of Cuban dissidents from the flag-raising ceremony.
Since Barack Obama and Raul Castro made the unexpected December 17 announcement of the restoration of diplomatic ties, progress had been made in telecommunications, business and travel – with a 35 per cent increase in Americans visiting Cuba this year, Mr Kerry said.
And in Cuba, dissidents have expressed concern that closer ties between the governments will leave them out in the cold. Washington severed diplomatic ties with Havana as relations soured soon after the 1959 Cuban Revolution.
Kerry said the isolation and estrangement road is not the right path for both the countries and the time calls for new journey in a promising direction.