U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesperson
For Immediate Release
STATEMENT BY SECRETARY MICHAEL R. POMPEO
November 22, 2019
Cuban Government Allegations of Political Interference Against U.S. Chargé d’Affaires
The U.S. government strongly condemns the Castro regime’s accusations against our Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Mara Tekach. The regime has launched these baseless allegations against her in an attempt to distract the international community from its abysmal treatment of the Cuban people, especially the ongoing arbitrary detention of dissident Jose Daniel Ferrer. Nevertheless, our Chargé d’Affaires and her team at the U.S. Embassy in Havana remain steadfast as they carry out the President’s mission to defend human rights and advance the cause of democracy in Cuba.
A key part of this work is to call out the Castro regime’s reprehensible human rights violations and abuses. The dedicated U.S. diplomats at Embassy Havana also meet with human rights defenders in Cuba, as U.S. diplomats do throughout the world.
Cuba’s Ambassador in Washington enjoys freedom of expression here in the United States and uses it to publicly criticize our government. We only wish other Cuban citizens, including the over 100 other political prisoners currently incarcerated by the Cuban regime and the hundreds of other dissidents subject to official harassment, could enjoy that same right to freedom of expression and the ability to criticize their own government in Cuba, as they could if Cuba honored its international human rights commitments.
Instead, the Castro regime’s first recourse is to dust off obsolete talking points from what should be a bygone era and describe any independent voices as mercenaries, subversives, and spies. The reality is that it is the repression of the Cuban people, the stifling of their dreams, and the denial of their dignity that discredit the communist regime and their revolution.
The United States has, and will continue to, openly and transparently express our grave concerns about the treatment and condition of human rights defenders in Cuba. The United States stands for the fundamental freedoms of expression, religion, association, and assembly – and we will stand by those in Cuba who desire the same.