On December 7 U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sent an open letter to Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, and Cuba immediately and angrily denounced the letter without responding to the specific questions advanced by Pompeo.
Secretary Pompeo’s Letter
The letter asked for a “substantive explanation of the detention of the [following eight] political prisoners” and “whether [Cuba] . . . continues to incarcerate . . . [them] as charged with ‘pre-criminal dangerousness’ and “for an explanation of the charges and the evidence against the other individuals [on a list provided by the U.S. in January 2017]:”
- Yosvany Sanchez Valenciano, Melkis Faure Echevarria, and Yanier Suarez Tamayo of the Cuban Patriotic Union;
- Eduardo Cardet Concepcion of the Christian Liberation Movement;
- journalist Yoeni de Jesus Guerra Garcia;
- Martha Sanchez of the Ladies in White;  and
- Jose Rolando Casares Soto and Yamilka Abascal Sanchez of the Cuban Youth Dialogue.
The Secretary also said that the U.S. “has for decades expressed profound concern regarding Cuban political prisoners. Such prisoners include those charged with pre-criminal ‘dangerousness, ’defined [in Cuban law] as ‘the special inclination an individual has to commit crimes demonstrated by conduct in manifest contradiction to the rules of socialist morality.’ Former President [Raúl] Castro, in a news conference with then President Obama in March 2016, said that if U.S. officials presented him with a list of political prisoners, they would be released that very night. He received such a list, but political prisoners remained in detention. U.S. representatives [also] raised the issue during the October 2016 Human Rights Dialogue in Havana. They were told all prisoners were in jail for sound reasons and that, if we had questions as to the reasons, we could raise them. Our representatives were also advised that pre-criminal ‘dangerousness’ was no longer used as a basis for imprisoning people.”
The Cuban Foreign Minister responded on Twitter, ” Pompeo lies and slanders. U.S. government is a global repressor [of human rights and] lacks moral authority.” In another tweet, Rodriguez said he has asked “Washington to lift the embargo, restore visas for Cubans” and “stop the repression of migrants, minorities and the poor.”
Cuba’s more extensive response to Secretary Pompeo’s letter was made by US Director of Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Carlos Fernández de Cossío. He said the U.S. “acts dishonestly when it raises concerns about the human rights situation in Cuba or anywhere.” He added that the “constant and flagrant abuses against its own population and the population of many countries in the world, and their alliance throughout history with dictatorial regimes authors of the most opprobrious crimes, disqualify the moral authority of the American rulers.”
The Pompeo letter and “his public management are nothing more than acts of propaganda.” They accompany . . . “the unwillingness of that government to sit down with Cuba, with seriousness and commitment, in a bilateral dialogue between equals, to deliberate on the issue of human rights and how to advance with sincerity towards constructive cooperation on the subject. . . . [and if] the United States were truly interested in the human rights of Cubans, it would not impose a criminal economic blockade that punishes the entire nation, nor would it place increasing obstacles to orderly emigration, nor to consular services on which tens of thousands of Cubans depend. ”
Fernández de Cossio concluded, “Cuba is a country in which human rights are respected. . . . [and contrary to the U.S.]”the Cuban government and society as a whole are mobilized to promote and guarantee the legal framework, public policies and the effective enjoyment of the rights of citizens, including the rights to a life worthy, free of exploitation, marginalization, social alienation, discrimination of any kind, violence, crime and abuse of power, and with access to quality health and education services for the entire population, among other guarantees.”
 U.S. State Dep’t, An Open Letter to the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Cuba (Dec. 10, 2018) (the letter itself was dated December 7, 2018); Assoc; Press, US Demands Answers From Cuba on Imprisoned Dissidents, N.Y. Times (Dec. 11, 2018).
 See U.S. at U.N. Condemns Cuba’s Imprisonment of Political Opponents, dwkcommentareis.com ( Oct. 17, 2018).
 See Search Results for: Ladies in White in dwkcommentaries.com.
 Cuba Foreign Ministry, Tweets by Foreign Minister Rodriguez (Dec. 2018); Cuba Foreign Ministry, Statement by the Director General of the USA of the MINREX on false accusations of the Department of State of the United States (Dec. 10, 2018).