HAVANA TIMES – US vice president, Mike Pence, met Friday in Lima, Peru, venue of the Summit of the Americas, with the Cuban dissident Rosa Maria Paya, who was assured of the support of the Trump Administration, reported dpa news.
“We are together with you in support of freedom for the Cuban people, the release of prisoners (political), the restoration of basic human rights and free and fair elections,” Pence said in a meeting with Paya at the residence of the US ambassador in the Peruvian capital.
The vice president was in Lima to attend the VIII Summit of the Americas in place of Trump, who canceled the trip at the last minute because of the crisis in Syria.
Pence, who had previously met with leaders of the Venezuelan opposition, said he admired Paya’s “courage”, as he did of her father Oswaldo Paya, an opposition leader who died in a car accident in 2012. “We deeply admired your father’s courage and his commitment to freedom in Cuba.”
“Although at this Summit of the Americas there is a great focus on the dictatorship and the deprivation and struggle of the people of Venezuela, I want to assure you on behalf of President Trump that the US people and our administration are with you,” he assured.
Paya called the meeting with Pence “a hand extended to the Cuban people.” “What the Cuban people want is freedom,” expressing that the Trump Administration’s support was “fundamental.”
Since his inauguration, Trump has reversed part of Barack Obama’s policy of rapprochement – which resumed relations with Cuba after more than 50 years. He has also tightened the embargo on the island and limited the trips of the US citizens. However, the US president has not broken off the renewed diplomatic relations.
Like Trump, Cuban President Raul Castro did not travel to Lima for the summit, which would have meant his last participation in a regional forum before his scheduled leaving office on April 19th.