US to press Cuba on human rights

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

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WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — President Donald Trump's administration will press Cuba on human rights progress, a top US official said Tuesday.The White House is carrying out a "comprehensive policy review," said Francisco Palmieri, a senior regional official in the State Department.

"I suspect that there will be important differences that will emerge between how this administration plans to address the situation in Cuba" and the policies of former president Barack Obama, he said.

Obama, a Democrat, presided over a US opening toward the Americas' only one-party communist-ruled country, and full diplomatic ties were restored after decades.

While Republican Trump has not offered many details on his policy toward Havana, Palmieri said the United States now wants significant strides on human rights.

For decades the United States has called for change in Cuba's political and economic system; Cuba however rejects any need for a multiparty system it says would only be corrupt.

"One of the areas that is going to be a high priority is ensuring that Cuba makes more substantive progress towards a greater respect for human rights inside the country," Palmieri said.

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