During Today's Confirmation Hearing

Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Excerpt from Roberta Jacobson's testimony today during her confirmation hearing for Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere:

In Cuba, we are working to expand the connections between U.S. and Cuban society and open the way for meaningful support of Cubans who are striking their own path, while we keep faith with human rights activists and dissidents who have fought for basic rights for years. With our efforts, more Cubans have access to information and independent connections to the American citizens who are the best ambassadors of our values. We have never wavered in our support of the right of people in Cuba to freely determine their own future – rights far too long denied to them. We also continue to seek the unconditional release of American citizen Alan Gross, a dedicated development worker who has been unjustly imprisoned in Cuba for nearly two years.

Cuba clearly departs most fundamentally from the region’s core democratic values and elections alone do not constitute a democracy, but we remain steadfast in protecting free and fair elections throughout the Hemisphere. Together with a broad range of partners we worked to ensure that Haiti’s elections accurately reflected the will of the Haitian people. We have expressed our clear concerns with the irregularities related to the recent electoral process in Nicaragua, in keeping with the Inter-American Democratic Charter, and we are committed to doing what we can, in partnership with others in the region, to promote the ability of the Venezuelan people to fully express their democratic will.