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STATE DEPT: CLINTON on Venezuela and Cuba

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magbana Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 09:47 AM
Original message
STATE DEPT: CLINTON on Venezuela and Cuba
from Walter Lippmann's CubaNews list - his comments are in parentheses prior to article
magbana

STATE DEPT. Secretary Clinton on Venezuela and Cuba
Posted by: "Walter Lippmann" walterlx@earthlink.net walterlx
Sat May 2, 2009 5:08 am (PDT)


(You'll want to read every line, but in particular note:

("Now, were facing an almost united front against the United States
regarding Cuba. Every country, even those with whom we are closest,
is just saying youve got to change, you cant keep doing what youre
doing. We would like to see some reciprocity from the Castros on
political prisoners, human rights, and other matters.")
==========================================================

http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2009a/05/122534.htm

Remarks by Secretary Clinton: May 2009
Keynote Address and Town Hall Meeting At Plenary Session of Foreign Affairs Day

Dean Acheson Auditorium
Washington, DC
May 1, 2009

.....................

Ive just been told by Harry this is our last question. Im sorry. Yes, sir.

QUESTION: Well, Ill make the last one, Madame Secretary, a softball you can hit out of the park. (Laughter.) Im Ken Scoge, a retired FSO. I just would like to get your views on a subject thats been of some attention recently. There have been indications that at a very high level or levels in the Department, there is a more benign face being shown - excuse me - to Hugo Chavez in Caracas. And this at a time when Chavez is attempting, and in some views, to follow the path of Putin in consolidation of the powers of the presidency, and whose attitude toward the United States has not been very friendly. Is this a correct assessment that you are - have - showing a more benign face? And if so, whats in it for us? What are our objectives?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think that from our analysis, when we look around the world, actually, we see a number of countries and leaders - Chavez is one of them but not the only one - who, over the last eight years, has become more and more negative and oppositional to the United States. Certainly, from my perspective, the prior administration tried to isolate them, tried to support opposition to them, tried to turn them into international pariahs. It didnt work.

And we are going to see what other approaches might work. We have no guarantees here that we can create a better relationship with someone who has a different view of politics, the economy, and so much else. But we think its worth trying to just explore this and see what comes of it. And I have to say that I dont think in todays world, where its a multipolar world, where we are competing for attention and relationships with at least the Russians, the Chinese, the Iranians, that its in our interest to turn our backs on countries in our own hemisphere.

So were going to try some different approaches. No illusions about who were dealing with or what the issues are. But I think its worth a try, because what weve been doing hasnt worked very well. And, in fact, if you look at the gains, particularly in Latin America, that Iran is making and China is making, its quite disturbing. I mean, they are building very strong economic and political connections with a lot of these leaders. I dont think thats in our interest.

So Im certainly open to both constructive criticism and ideas, but - we talked about exchanging ambassadors again with Chavez, which I think we will do at some point. We are looking to figure out how to deal with Ortega. The Iranians are building a huge embassy in Managua, and you can only imagine what its for. We want to try to build better relationships with Correa, and we want to see if we can figure out how to get an ambassador back and work with Morales in Bolivia.

Now, were facing an almost united front against the United States regarding Cuba. Every country, even those with whom we are closest, is just saying youve got to change, you cant keep doing what youre doing. We would like to see some reciprocity from the Castros on political prisoners, human rights, and other matters.

So were looking at a number of different relationships and trying to figure out whether we can be more productive. My bottom line is: Whats best for America? How do we try to influence behavior that is more in our interest than not? And thats how were looking at it.

Thank you all. (Applause.)

PRN: 2009/407

=========================================
WALTER LIPPMANN
Los Angeles, California
Editor-in-Chief, CubaNews
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CubaNews /
"Cuba - Un Paraso bajo el bloqueo"
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