Yoani Sanchez: “I am not expecting that Obama is going to demand our rights”

(EFE) - Yoani Sanchez said on Wednesday that the normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States gives new hope to the inhabitants of the Island, but stressed that Cubans themselves must exert pressure to demand their rights.

“I am not expecting [US president, Barack] Obama, from the White House, is going to demand our rights, it is up to us,” said the regime opponent and journalist at a press conference in Santiago de Cuba, where she had arrived for a three-day visit.

On the normalization of relations between the two countries, the blogger felt that the United States has made several concessions so far, but the Government of president Raul Castro has been hiding his cards.

“The issue of human rights and freedoms, such as of the press, has been knocking on a closed door, but we don’t know if the Cuban government is going to cede anything,” she said.

Beyond the scope of the negotiations, Sanchez said that it is a beneficial process because it gives hope and externalizes the “conflict between the Cuban people and the Cuban government,” which, in her opinion, is the real conflict on the island.

“I would like for this process of negotiation to also bring acceptance on the part of the Cuban government of a multiparty system, of the legal existence of independent media, and a commitment not to violate human rights,” the journalist said. She predicted, however, that the regime will cling forcefully to the “absolute control” that it exercises.

On being asked for the reasons of the rapprochement between Cuba and the United States, the regime opponent said that Venezuela’s economic and social crisis is a “determining” factor, due to the economic assistance it provides to the Castro regime.

Sanchez also welcomed the announcement of the trip Pope Francis plans to make to Cuba this coming September, before visiting the United States, and expressed her desire for the Pope to promote “the end of political imprisonment.”


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