Obama Suggests Cuba Release Political Prisoners
19 Apr 09 | AP
President Barack Obama on Sunday suggested that Cuba release its political prisoners and defended his highly publicized handshakes with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, closing an overseas trip that he said heralded a new start in U.S. ties with Latin America.
Obama said the exchanges with Cuba and Venezuela provide “an opportunity for frank dialogue on a range of issues, including critical issues of democracy and human rights throughout the hemisphere.” And yet, he quickly added, “the test for all of us is not simply words but also deeds.”
Earlier this week, the Obama administration lifted restrictions on Cuban-Americans who want to travel and send money to their island homeland and freed U.S. telecommunications companies to seek business there. Havana responded, saying it was open to talks on issues including human rights – a topic long held off-limits.
Obama, speaking to reporters at a closing news conference at the Summit of the Americas, suggested that Cuba could further respond by releasing political prisoners and cutting fees on the money that Cuban-Americans send to their families. >>>