Last night Expat commented,
Yesterday Captains Quarters had a post on about Raul rejecting Chavez for Lula. The report cited said that Lula pressed Raul to allow dissent and to free political prisoners. I haven’t seen anything else on this topic. Have you heard anything?
but Mercopress Independent News Agency has a report from Lula’s visit to Havana last month :Raul Castro asks Lula da Silva help with transition process
Cuba’s interim president Raul Castro requested advise and help from Brazil’s Luis Inacio Lula da Silva “to accelerate the political and economic transition process” in the island according to Wednesday edition of the prestigious Folha de Sao Paulo.
The newspaper reports that during the January Brazilian presidential visit to Havana, Raul Castro praised Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez for having helped Cuba “in a particularly tough moment of the ongoing confrontation with the United States George W Bush administration”.
Nevertheless Fidel Castro brother is quoted saying that Brazil “is a far more convenient associate than Venezuela’s Chavez”, for the transition period.
Who leaked the story?
The Folha de Sao Paulo piece based on data allegedly disclosed by members of the Brazilian government delegation that visited Cuba with the Brazilian president, says that Raul also requested Lula da Silva to convince United States to end the economic embargo dating back to 1962, and which President Bush has made even stricter.
Interestingly, Lula pressured Raul on human rights,
Lula da Silva went further and suggested to the Cuban interim president “gestures in the field of human rights (release of political prisoners), evidence of a real transition intent and not only a follow up of the Chinese model (economic opening and iron hand in politics)”
In yesterday’s Bloggers’ Call, John McCain insisted on the same if the US is going to talk to Cuba.
McCain specifically stated (and I’m quoting him verbatim from the notes I took during the Bloggers’ call) that “the danger of [unconditionally] sitting down with Raul is that it legitimizes Raul and his regime”, and “everything we do to legitimize him will be a mistake and will lead to further misfortune”. Earlier in the call, McCain had said, “”We should be very clear [that we’ll talk] after prisons are emptied, there are free elections, human rights organizations are allowed in, and after his brother has the chance to meet Karl Marx.”
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