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Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights welcomes President Obama’s announcement of a change in United States policy towards Cuba

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (see below for Spanish)

(Washington, D.C. | December 17, 2014)

Kerry Kennedy and Santiago A. Canton, on behalf of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, welcomed the announcement from President Obama that the United States is changing its policy towards Cuba. The change in policy will lead to an opening of dialogue at all levels between the United States and Cuba, including on the issue of protecting and advancing human rights.

“This historic change in United States policy towards Cuba is long overdue,” said Kerry Kennedy, President of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights. “So much has changed since President Kennedy and my father were confronted with the Cuban Missile Crisis. Cuba needs to make dramatic improvements in its respect for human rights, but the days of direct confrontation ended long ago, and the changes we seek on the island can more constructively be pursued through engagement and dialogue.”

In his announcement today, President Obama said that the policy of isolating Cuba “has failed” and that the United States will move to normalize relations. As part of this normalization, the United States will seek to have an embassy in Cuba for the first time in over 50 years. The U.S. will also ease banking, trade, and economic sanctions on Cuba, while Cuba will release 53 political prisoners identified by the United States. Alan Gross, a USAID subcontractor imprisoned for the past five years, was also released on humanitarian grounds. The embargo on the island is codified in legislation, and will need to be addressed by Congress in order for a change to come to that policy.

“This dialogue will advance the protection and defense of human rights in Cuba, and will bring about a positive change in the everyday lives of Cubans, including those who live off the island.” said Santiago A. Canton, Executive Director of RFK Partners for Human Rights. “Now the next important step is in the hands of Congress to finally put an end to the economic embargo that hurts the Cuban people.”

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About Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights was founded in 1968 by Robert Kennedy's family and friends as a living memorial to carry forward his vision of a more just and peaceful world. RFK Partners for Human Rights, a program of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, engages in strategic long-term partnerships with RFK Human Rights Award Laureates and other civil society activists, providing sustained advocacy, litigation, and capacity-building support to grassroots leaders to advance social justice movements around the globe.

Contact:

Lydia Allen
Program Officer for the Americas/Human Rights Award Coordinator
RFK Partners for Human Rights
Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights
Tel: (202) 463-7575 x 257
Fax: (202) 202.463.6606
email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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El Robert F. Kennedy Derechos Humanos saluda el anuncio del Presidente Obama de un cambio en la política de los Estados Unidos hacia Cuba

PARA PUBLICACIÓN INMEDIATA

(Washington, D.C. | 17 de diciembre de 2014)

Kerry Kennedy y Santiago A. Canton, en nombre del Robert F. Kennedy Derechos Humanos, saludaron el anuncio del Presidente Obama del cambio de política de los Estados Unidos hacia Cuba. El cambio de política llevará a una apertura al diálogo en todos los niveles entre Estados Unidos y Cuba, incluyendo en materia de protección y avance de los derechos humanos.

“Este cambio histórico en la política de los Estados Unidos hacia Cuba era requerido desde hace mucho tiempo” expresó Kerry Kennedy, Presidenta del Robert F. Kennedy Derechos Humanos. “Tantas cosas han cambiado desde que el Presidente Kennedy y mi padre tuvieron que afrontar la Crisis de los Misiles Cubanos. Cuba necesita llevar a cabo mejoras dramáticas en su respeto a los derechos humanos, pero los días de confrontación directa terminaron hace tiempo y los cambios que buscamos en la isla pueden conseguirse de manera constructiva mediante el diálogo y la interacción”.

En su anuncio el día de hoy, el Presidente Obama dijo que la política de aislamiento a Cuba “ha fallado” y que Estados Unidos buscará la normalización de las relaciones. Como parte de dicha normalización, Estados Unidos buscará tener una Embajada en Cuba por primera vez en más de 50 años. Estados Unidos también reducirá sus sanciones bancarias, comerciales y económicas en contra de Cuba. Por su parte, Cuba liberará a 53 prisioneros políticos. El embargo sobre la isla está codificado en la legislación y necesitará ser abordado por el Congreso para que dicha política pueda ser cambiada.

“Este diálogo avanzará la protección y defensa de derechos humanos en Cuba y traerá consigo cambios positivos en la vida cotidiana de los cubanos, incluidos aquellos que viven fuera de la isla” expresó Santiago A. Canton, Director Ejecutivo del Programa de Derechos Humanos del Robert F. Kennedy Derechos Humanos. “Ahora el importante paso que sigue está en manos del Congreso para finalmente terminar con el embargo que afecta al pueblo cubano”. 

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Sobre el Robert F. Kennedy Derechos Humanos

Fundado en 1968, el Robert F. Kennedy Derechos Humanos tiene como misión avanzar la visión de Robert F. Kennedy de un mundo más justo y pacífico. En asociación con defensores de derechos humanos del mundo entero, el programa de Derechos Humanos (RFK Partners for Human Rights) es la rama de la organización dedicada a la promoción, el litigio y la denuncia de violaciones de los derechos humanos.

Contact:

Lydia Allen (inglés, español)
Oficial de Programas para las Américas / Coordinadora del Premio de Derechos Humanos
RFK Partners for Human Rights
Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights
1300 19th St., NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20036
Tel: 202-463-7575 x257
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Twitter: @Lydia_RFKennedy
www.rfkcenter.org
 
 

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