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Cuba: Politics and Government

Volume 464: debated on Tuesday 9 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the prospect of democratic transition in Cuba. (154580)

Last year's changes in the leadership in Cuba have not, so far, led to evidence of significant change in Cuban Government policy. UK policy continues to follow the 1996 EU Common Position, which aims to encourage a process of peaceful transition to pluralist democracy and respect for human rights in Cuba. As part of this policy, the UK/EU also continues to pursue constructive engagement with both the Cuban Government and all other sectors of Cuban society, including members of the opposition.

We remain concerned about the political situation in Cuba, which is a one-party state with considerable restrictions on fundamental human rights. We continue to press the Cuban authorities to respect these human rights, including political freedoms.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the government of Cuba about (a) the release of political prisoners, (b) freedom of speech and (c) freedom of political expression. (154581)

On 30 April 2007, my right. hon. Friend the then Minister for Trade, Investment and Foreign Affairs, expressed concern about political prisoners and other human rights issues during a meeting with Cuban Deputy Minister for Foreign Trade Antonio Carricarte. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office raises human rights issues—including the release of political prisoners, freedom of speech and freedom of political expression—on a regular basis with the Cuban Government.