Kudos to the State Department

Monday, February 25, 2013
Some of these journalists should really learn some basic etiquette.

From today's State Department Daily Press Briefing with Deputy Spokesperson Patrick Ventrell:

QUESTION: Do you have a reaction to Raul Castro saying he will not seek reelection in five years’ time?

MR. VENTRELL: So, Brad, we are indeed aware of the reports that President Castro, Raul Castro, announced his intention to step down in 2018 after another five-year term. We also saw the announcement that Mr. Miguel Diaz-Canel was named First Vice President.

We remain hopeful for the day that the Cuban people get democracy, when they can have the opportunity to freely pick their own leaders in an open democratic process and enjoy the freedoms of speech and association without fear of reprisal. We’re clearly not there yet.

QUESTION: Hold on, hold on. I’m glad you’re aware. I guess that confirms that not everybody in the U.S. Government slept through the entire weekend. But do you have an actual reaction? Do you have a position on whether this is a good step, whether this is helpful in that process toward a freer, fairer, Cuba as you stated?

MR. VENTRELL: I think --

QUESTION: Or just that you know that things happened in the world over the last 48 hours?

MR. VENTRELL: Well, no. I mean, I think, Brad, what we’re saying is that we’ve noted that it’s happened, but clearly, a change in leadership that, absent the fundamental democratic reforms necessary to give people their free will and their ability to pick their own leaders, won’t be a fundamental change for Cuba.

QUESTION: So this is not enough; they still need to do more if they want to, one, improve the state of their country and, two, repair relations with the United States?

MR. VENTRELL: Absolutely.