Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Lavrov Lauds US-Cuban Thaw at Meeting With 'Cuban Five'

Sputnik International

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Russian Foreign Minister said that US decision to normalize ties with Cuba indicates Washington’s disillusionment with sanctions.

MOSCOW (Sputnik)  The US decision to normalize ties with Cuba indicates Washington’s disillusionment with sanctions, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday.
"The normalization process between Cuba and the US indicates that our US colleagues have realized that neither sanctions nor double standards in human rights policies will work," Lavrov said at a meeting with Cuba’s five national heroes in Moscow.
The so-called Cuban Five – Gerardo Hernandez, Antonio Guerrero, Ramon Labanino, Fernando Gonzalez, and Rene Gonzalez – were intelligence officers who were sent to Florida in 1992 to monitor US-based anti-Cuban groups.
The five Cubans were arrested and charged with espionage six years later. Two returned to Cuba after serving their prison sentences, while the rest were repatriated in 2014 after US President Barack Obama announced a historic shift in US policy to restore diplomatic relations between the two neighbors.
Lavrov noted that for many Cubans the five officers had become a symbol of Cuba’s resistance and fight for independence.
"We know that you have been actively involved in reforming Cuba, promoting public diplomacy, and your potential could help us promote friendship and cooperation between our nations," the Russian chief diplomat said.
Speaking on behalf of the Cuban Five, Gerardo Hernandez thanked Russia for its continued support of Cuba in its struggle for independence and in giving the small Caribbean nation a voice on the international stage, where Moscow had been pushing for lifting the US economic blockade off the country. 

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