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.
A Princeton PhD, was a US diplomat for over 20 years, mostly in Eastern Europe, and was promoted to the Senior Foreign Service in 1997. For the Open World Leadership Center, he speaks with
its delegates from Europe/Eurasia on the topic, "E Pluribus Unum? What Keeps the United States United." Affiliated with Georgetown University for over ten years, he shares ideas with students about public diplomacy.
The papers of his deceased father -- poet and diplomat John L. Brown -- are stored at Georgetown University Special Collections at the Lauinger Library. They are manuscript materials valuable to scholars interested in post-WWII U.S.-European cultural relations.
This blog is dedicated to him, Dr. John L. Brown, a remarkable linguist/humanist who wrote in the Foreign Service Journal (1964) -- years before "soft power" was ever coined -- that "The CAO [Cultural Affairs Officer] soon comes to realize that his job is really a form of love-making and that making love is never really successful unless both partners are participating."