World America 20 Mar 2016 Cuban dissidents urg ...

Cuban dissidents urge Obama to promote 'radical change'

AFP
Published Mar 20, 2016, 8:51 am IST
Updated Mar 20, 2016, 8:51 am IST
Activists on the island welcomed Obama's visit, the first by a sitting US president in 88 years.
Obama is due to meet with some dissident representatives Tuesday, although the Cuban government has warned him that state-level discussions over internal politics are 'off the table.' (Photo: AP)
 Obama is due to meet with some dissident representatives Tuesday, although the Cuban government has warned him that state-level discussions over internal politics are 'off the table.' (Photo: AP)

Havana: Cuban dissidents called on US President Barack Obama to tackle the Cuban government over repression and to urge "radical change" during his visit to Havana starting on Sunday.

Activists on the island, which has been under Communist Party control for more than five decades, welcomed Obama's visit, the first by a sitting US president in 88 years.

 

"It's an opportunity for the Cuban governing political class to understand that there is no place any more for the besieged fortress philosophy in which every dissident was classified a traitor," they said in a statement Saturday.

The dissidents called for Obama to promote change, notably a "stop to repression and use of physical violence against all political and human rights activists."

Obama is due to meet with some dissident representatives Tuesday, although the Cuban government has warned him that state-level discussions over internal politics are "off the table."

 

One prominent, illegal dissident group called the Ladies in White -- formed by wives of former political prisoners -- was planning to demonstrate on Sunday morning, hours before Obama's arrival. It was unclear whether they would be permitted to gather.

Cuba denies that it represses political activists.

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