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Raúl Castro Speech Indicates U.S.-Cuban Relations May Worsen

December 21, 2009 By Roque Planas

The United States continues to destabilize the Cuban Revolution, Raúl Castro said in a speech to the Cuban National Assembly on Sunday, Dec. 20.

Castro referred to an unnamed U.S. contractor employed by Development Alternatives, Inc. who was arrested by the Cuban government for distributing laptops to political dissidents on Dec. 5 as an example of the United States’ continued commitment to undermine the island’s communist government.

“The enemy is as active as ever,” said Castro, referring to the U.S. government. “The proof is the recent detention of a North American citizen, euphemistically referred to as a government ‘contractor’ by spokespeople of the State Department, who dedicated himself to illegally supplying members of ‘civil society’ who are organizing against our country with sophisticated means of satellite communication.”

The U.S. Foreign Operations budget included $20 million in 2009 to “continue to promote self-determined democracy in Cuba,” according to the Congressional Budget Justification for 2010. The funds aim to support “humanitarian assistance to political prisoners, their families and other victims of repression; advance human rights; strengthen independent civil society organizations; support information sharing into and out of Cuba; and advance political competition in Cuba,” the report says.

The diplomatic dispute has prompted observers to tone down predictions of an easing of U.S.-Cuban tensions following the Obama’s innauguration.

Spanish speakers can hear the speech in the YouTube video above or read it at Cuba Debate’s Web site.

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