Tags: Barack Obama | washington post | cuban prisoners | barack obama

WashPost Asks: Where Are Freed Cuban Prisoners?

Friday, 09 Jan 2015 12:12 PM

The Washington Post has condemned President Barack Obama for not clearly making the freedom of 53 political prisoners in Cuba a condition of the controversial agreement with the communist regime.

Obama announced last month that the United Sates planned to normalize relations with Cuba after more than 50 years of a cold war with the island nation, including the possibility of opening an embassy in Havana.

As part of the treaty, the president said that Cuba had agreed to release 53 pro-democracy activists, which is actually about half the number identified by Cuban human rights groups.

But the Post’s editorial board blasted the president, saying, "Now it’s becoming clear that Mr. Obama chose not to make even that half-step a condition for the broad relaxation of travel and economic restrictions he is granting to Havana along with the normalization of relations."

The Post noted that as of Wednesday, three weeks after the deal, Cuban human rights activists had reported only five freed prisoners. But Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez tweeted on Thursday that the figure had increased to 26, still only half nearly half the number Obama had promised.

Despite Cuba’s reluctance to carry out the president’s prisoner pledge, the State Department had made it a top priority to continue with the "direct dialogue" between the two countries toward the normalization of relations.

Referring to the 53 dissidents, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said earlier this week, "We’re not waiting to make progress on the other components."

The editorial board pointed out that the Obama administration has added to the problem by refusing to reveal the names of the detainees, with Psaki saying, "We’re not looking to put a bigger target on Cuban political dissidents."

"Yet the activists the State Department refuses to identify are already in prison; naming
them could not make them targets, but it might ensure that they are freed as promised," the Post said.

The newspaper also took Obama to task for "violating" two previous pledges he had made while reaching an accord with Cuban dictator Raul Castro.

The board said that in announcing the weakening of sanctions Obama had failed "to link such a liberalization to ‘significant steps toward Democracy,’ including the freeing of all political prisoners; and to consult with Cuban civil society, including pro-democracy activists, on the change."

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The Washington Post has condemned President Barack Obama for not clearly making the freedom of 53 political prisoners in Cuba a condition of the controversial agreement with the communist regime.
washington post, cuban prisoners, barack obama
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2015-12-09
Friday, 09 Jan 2015 12:12 PM
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