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Earlier today, Yoani Sanchez posted questions to U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro regarding U.S.-Cuban relations on her blog, Generación Y. Sanchez, who was recently denied a visa to visit New York City to attend an awards dinner after she was awarded a Marie Moors Cabot Prize from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, received a direct response from Obama himself.
Obama addresses each point with steadfast poise, sticking to his administration’s usual positions on the topic. He categorizes Cuban affairs as a domestic and foreign policy issue for the U.S. and emphasizes democratic rule, freedom of speech, and human rights, familiar rhetoric from the president. He also does not rule out a visit to the island in the future, not to work on his tan, but rather as a “diplomatic tool”:
I look forward to visit a Cuba in which all citizens enjoy the same rights and opportunities as other citizens in the hemisphere.
No word yet if Castro intends to reply. However, his mind may be on other things after Human Rights Watch’s release of the report “New Castro, Same Cuba,” condemning his regime:
In his three years in power, Raúl Castro has been just as brutal as his brother. Cubans who dare to criticize the government live in perpetual fear, knowing they could wind up in prison for merely expressing their views.
Pete Souza/White House via Getty Images