Cubans Surprised by Speech from John Kerry

Some Cubans who saw it did not believe it – a Secretary of State of the U.S. lecturing their Communist government about human rights and democracy on state run television.

As the flag of the U.S. was raised at its newly opened embassy in Havana for just the first time in the past 54 years, John Kerry called for Cuba to have genuine democracy and his speech was broadcast throughout the entire island nation from start to finish with accurate translation into Spanish so all would understand.

Kerry said that Cubans should have the freedom to choose who should respect the international human rights norms.

The government of Cuba hit back by criticizing the human rights record of the U.S. but did allow its people to listen to Kerry.

However, many are very skeptical that any major changes will come of it. One person who lives close to the U.S. embassy in Havana said it would be exceptional if any were accomplished but it might by just all about talk.

The relations between the U.S. and Cuba took a dramatically different course this past December when U.S. President Barack Obama and Raul Castro the President of Cuba announced they had ended over five decades of hostility.

Since that time, Obama eased trade and travel restrictions believing that engagement with the Caribbean island nation would do far more for personal freedoms in Cuba than the rhetoric from the Cold War and the decades long embargo.

Dissidents from Cuba believe that Obama is attempting to make real change but believe Castro’s government will hold firm and refuse to loosen the hold on power its Communist Party has.

Dissidents living in Cuba were not invited to the embassy ceremony of raising the flag but some met with Kerry at the residence of the U.S. Ambassador.

Despite much skepticism, the dissidents remain optimistic that change will someday come.

Hundreds of Cubans along with tourists braved the August head and a great deal of security near the embassy to watch the flag of the U.S. rise upon the playing of the U.S. national anthem.

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