In Visit to Cuba Brazil President Lambastes Obama for Embargo and for Keeping Guantanamo Open

Dilma Rousseff and Raul Castro Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff, a communist guerrilla in her youth, who is visiting Havana for the first time as a chief of state, refused to criticize Cuba’s human rights record on Tuesday, saying the issue should not be used to score ideological points. 

“One should sweep one’s own house before criticizing others. We in Brazil also have human rights problems. Therefore I am willing to discuss human rights from a multilateral perspective,” she told reporters before conferring with President Raul Castro.

Rousseff stressed that human rights should not be “a weapon for ideological political warfare.”

Rousseff totally excluded the issue of human rights in her official talks in Havana because, she said, these rights are violated throughout the world, “including the United States.” She mentioned what is happening in the US prison at the Guantanamo base, is East Cuba.

Talking to the press, the Brazilian leader reminded that the US government currently maintains a prison in Guantanamo Bay, an area that’s Cuba territory, “where you know what is happening.”

In the case of Cuban opposition blogger Yoani Sanchez, who has been granted a visa by Brasília, Rousseff said it was not up to Brazil to decide whether Cuban authorities should give the renowned dissident an exit visa.

Sanchez, who hopes to attend the premiere in Brazil of a documentary by Brazilian director Dado Galvão on February 10, has been denied permission to leave the island.

Known worldwide for her award-winning blog “Generation Y,” she won the 2008 Ortega y Gasset prize for online journalism from Madrid daily El Pais.

Rousseff has no plans to meet with dissidents, according to her entourage. But Brazil’s first woman president called on revolutionary icon and former president Fidel Castro.

“I await this meeting with a lot of pride,” said the former leftist  revolutionary who was tortured under her country’s military dictatorship (1964-1985).

Rousseff restated her opposition to the 50-year-old US trade embargo against Cuba and said the best way of countering it was to offer “our collaboration to Cuba in various fields”.

She pointed to the “favorable strategic cooperation” between the two countries in areas such as biotechnology, an area where Cuba excels and in which Brazil can offer high tech capabilities. Rousseff’ talks with her Cuban counterpart focused on increased economic cooperation.

Rousseff is expected to announce a 70 million dollars credit for Cuban small-scale agriculture, on top of the 450 million dollars Brasilia has already earmarked for the expansion of the port of Mariel, 50 kilometers west of Havana.

The two countries had record trade of 642 million dollars in 2011, making Brazil Cuba’s second largest Latin American trading partner, after Venezuela. But Brazilian exports to Cuba account for 550 million of the trade, an imbalance that both sides want to correct.

Rousseff’s visit came as Brazilian construction company Odebrecht announced it would sign an agreement with Cuba’s state-run sugar producer Azcuba, to boost production in Cienfuegos province.

Diplomatic sources here said the two countries were also mulling an agreement for joint production of generic medicines and bio fuels.

From Cuba Rousseff will travel on to Haiti as she aims to continue the regional diplomatic outreach of her popular predecessor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
After being welcomed by Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, Rousseff swiftly left Havana airport without speaking to reporters. The Brazilian leader hopes to “increase dialogue and deepen the bilateral cooperation, with an emphasis on the economic agenda,” her foreign ministry said ahead of the trip.

On Wednesday Rousseff leaves for Haiti, where Brazil leads a mission of several thousand UN peacekeepers.

The Brazilian government announced Monday that it had allocated more than US$ 500,000 in fresh aid for the more than 4,000 Haitian immigrants who are being granted permanent residence visas.

The northern Brazilian states of Acre and Amazonas which border Peru have seen an influx of undocumented Haitians since the devastating earthquake in their homeland two years ago.



  • Show Comments (4)

  • usa

    latin america,s marxists love to hate the usa
    well of course brazil will do business with its comrades in cuba …and its comrades in venezuela,yes of course ,afterall the little former convict and marxist guerrilla dima(dipshit) rouseff is a communist herself…perhaps the usa should stop doing business of any kind with brazil too.

  • José Geraldo Gouvêa

    The US have squandered all the “moral” they had when they opened the Guantanamo Bay prison. Reports of abuse are extensive, revolting, disgusting. It is very hard not to feel sympathetic towards some of the people who were kept there, even considering that some were actually enemies of the US. Not even a dog should be treated like that and the US has not a shadow of shame for doing that routinely. Abu Ghraib could be forgiven as a mistake, but Guantanamo Bay is an institution: it tells us that the US do not care for the human rights of foreigners, care even less if they don not like said foreigners, and are caring less and less for their own citizens.

    While I agree that Cuba is no sugar island paradise and the Castro Brothers’ thing is actually a tyranny, I must agree with Rousseff. Why should we refrain from having business with Cuba, considering that many other tyrannies are not frowned upon by the US? Why only Cuba?

    The answer is simply because little Cuba, helped by the Big Russian Bear, defied the arrogance of the Northern Empire right across the Miami shores and the Americans still have a bad blood about it. They won’t just stomp on Cuba because that would show the world how unjust they are. But they keep it strangled and blocked for the sheer desire of punishment. Cuba, the country, is being held prison in a Guantanamo Bay prison of sorts, for decades.

  • usa

    (sic ) touching as in well ….”touching” .as in loving close sympathetic.and supportive of eachothers anti-america fantasies ..why these two are nearly delusional with anti-gringo pathos…the great nation and ally of the united states tips it hat with a nod and a wink at britains decision to send a super modern royal naval battle ship to the falklands along with that handsome frien d of the usa prince william with a helicopter squadron .just to hang out in the beautifull british isles of the falklands …cheerio to our british friends as they sail to south america armed to the teeth ….on ward chaps onward through the fog .

  • usa

    don,t these two little worms make a lovely commie couple …
    how nice for rousseffs fellow comrades in brazil to see.. and the lovely back drop of che “ernesto” guevarra the dead marxist criminal murderer of innocents was so touchinf …latin america,s marxists are funny little cartoon characters allways there to give the west a good laugh …

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