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Cuba17 October 2005

Ibero-American leaders get nothing in return for backing Cuba at summit

Reporters Without Borders voiced disappointment today at the outcome of last weekend’s Ibero-American summit in the Spanish city of Salamanca, where leaders adopted two resolutions in support of the Cuban government without any getting anything in return on human rights.

“Although a notable absentee, Fidel Castro got the 19 heads of state and government attending the summit to support his demands,” the press freedom organisation said. “We do not understand why democratically-elected leaders give their backing to Cuba’s authoritarian regime without obtaining any matching concessions on human rights issues.”

Reporters Without Borders added: “We point out that Cuba currently has around 300 political prisoners including 23 journalists whose only crime is to think differently from the government. What is unacceptable from any other repressive regime in the world is no less so coming from Cuba. Why this double standard? We expect a coherent and firm stance towards Cuba from both European Union and Latin American countries.”

The leaders of the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries participating in the two-day summit adopted 16 resolutions to accompany their final statement on 15 October. Two of them were in response to Cuba’s requests.

One of these resolutions said: “We ask the government of the United States of America to implement what was envisaged in 13 successive resolutions approved by the United Nations general assembly and to put an end to the economic, commercial and financial blockade that it maintains against Cuba.”

The second resolution supported Venezuela’s efforts to obtain the extradition of Luis Posada Carriles, an anti-Castro activist and former CIA agent who is wanted for a terrorist attack on a Cuban airliner in October 1976 which killed 73 civilians. Posada is now in the United States where the courts refuse to extradite him.



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