State Department: CELAC Betrays Democratic Principles in Cuba

Friday, January 31, 2014
From EFE:

Washington: Celac betrays democratic principles by supporting Cuba

"We urge the members of Celac to clearly show their support for peaceful demonstration and freedom of expression in the Americas," said a spokesman of the US State Department

The United States on Thursday accused the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean of "betraying" democratic principles by supporting the Cuban regime during a regional summit in Havana, said a spokesman for the State Department.

"We are disappointed that the Celac (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States), in its final declaration, betrayed the region's outspoken commitment to democratic principles, as it endorsed the single-party system in Cuba," said the spokesman, as quoted by AFP.

Latin America and Caribbean countries showed strong support for Cuba as some 30 Heads of State of the region and international leaders attended the summit, which ended on Wednesday. This did not play well with Washington, which maintains an embargo on the island.

The US government termed the final declaration "particularly inexplicable" for an organization that "supposedly supports democracy and human rights," said the State Department spokesman, who requested anonymity.

"We found especially disheartening and inconsistent the fact that Celac decided to accept without question the repressive actions of the host country to prevent its citizens from peacefully demonstrating their democratic aspirations," he said.

Precisely on Wednesday the United States urged the Latin American leaders attending the Celac Summit to meet with Cuban dissidents during their stay on the island.

"We urge the members of Celac to clearly show their support for peaceful demonstration and freedom of expression in the Americas," the US spokesman reiterated.

"We strongly condemned the Cuban government's harassment and arrest of activists back then (at the start of the summit), and we do it now. As we have always done, we urge the Government of Cuba to allow Cuban citizens to express their views freely, and gather peacefully in the exercise of that right," the spokesman added, according to Efe.