Thursday, July 22, 2010

Dominican leader in shuttle diplomacy between US, Cuba

Dominican leader in shuttle diplomacy between US, Cuba

Santo Domingo.- President Leonel Fernandez's sudden trip to Havana has
sparked speculation that Dominican Republic may become the second nation
to receive Cuban political prisoners, after Spain, and may herald a new
era of shuttle diplomacy made famous by Henry Kissinger during the Cold

His visit to Cuba comes just 10 days after meeting with president Barack
Obama, five days after the arrest of Puerto Ricn Jose Figueroa Agosto
and 15 hours after Sobeida Felix's deportation by U.S. authorities.

Political analysts say Fernandez may be acting at Obama's behest "to
help" in the reception of Cuban detainees, which the West calls
political prisoners, but accused of being common criminals in their country.

And though local media refer to Fernandez's 24 hour visit as official,
Cuba state-run newspaper Gramma published only two paragraphs noting the
meeting with Raul Castro and the conference he'll dictate in Havana

Since there are more than 100 dissident detainees still and Spain has
already met its quota, and the fact that some of those who arrived last
week have voiced criticisms against that nation's authorities, the
United States needs to look for another destination for the rest.

Yesterday Washington stated its interest in receiving an unspecified
number of prisoners, but asked other countries to collaborate in
distributing them among the Americas and Europe.

The analysts stress that Fernandez's sudden trip to Cuba is to convey
Washington's message and that everything points to the distribution of
the Cuban prisoners outside US territory, given the bitter experience of
the Mariel boatlift 20 years ago.

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