Martha Beatriz Roque: Obama Should 'Correct Course' on Cuba Policy

Saturday, March 5, 2016
From EFE:

Martha Beatriz Roque Believes U.S. Should "Correct Course" in Normalization With Cuba 

Cuban dissident Martha Beatriz Roque told EFE on Friday in Miami that she would like to be received by the U.S. President, Barack Obama, to ask him to "correct course" in the process of normalization of relations with Cuba.

In that process, "the only thing the Cuban government does is demand and it has given very little in exchange," said Roque, an economist originally condemned to 20 years in prison in the 2003 "Black Spring" crackdown.

Roque Cabello, who was born in 1945 and also has Spanish nationality, arrived in Miami on Thursday, on a permit granted by the Cuban government that allows her to travel outside the country one time only.

The dissident, who saw her sister for the first time in 55 years this Thursday, said that she would return to Cuba on March 31st, so she will not be there when Obama visits the island on 21st and 22nd, although she would like to be able to speak with him before his trip to explain to him her opinions about the process of normalizing relations announced at the end of 2014.

Not to be radical, I must say that the Cuban government has given very little. All it does is make demands for the embargo to be lifted, the return Guantanamo, the closing of Radio and Television Marti,” she said in a telephone interview with EFE.

In her view, the United States should "correct course," so that the Cuban government offers something from its side.

Roque said it's not time to judge whether Obama was wrong or not about the agreement reached with Raul Castro to end the antagonism between the two countries, which has resulted in a restoration of diplomatic relations.

She would like to be received by Obama before traveling to the island to give him her views on the situation in the country and the changes needed, as she did with the United States Secretary of State, John Kerry, when he visited Cuba.

Roque, from the Assembly to Promote Civil Society, said that after this "private trip" she will return to Cuba on March 31st and will be subject to the parole conditions she received in 2004, unable to leave the country again.

A large group of those convicted in the Black Spring Group of 75 left Cuba under an agreement between the Cuban government, the Catholic Church and the Spanish government in 2010. Of the 11 who remained in Cuba, only seven have received permission to take one trip outside of Cuba, and three are not going to travel, for various reasons, according to Roque.