Date: Fri, 23 Jan 1998 01:43:45 -0500
Sender: The African Global Experience <AGE-L@UGA.CC.UGA.EDU>
From: Marpessa Kupendua <nattyreb@IX.NETCOM.COM>
Subject: !*Clinton deflects Pope's call to relax Cuban Blocka
From: "Compa~ero" <firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Thu, 22 Jan 1998 20:21:48 -5
Subject: Clinton deflects Pope's call to relax Cuban Blocka
Clinton deflects Pope's call to relax Cuban Blockade
21 January 1998
WASHINGTON, Jan 21 (Reuters) - U.S. President Bill Clinton on Wednesday
welcomed Pope John Paul's visit to Cuba, but gently rebuffed his call for
Washington to "change" its 35-year-old economic embargo on the
"I'm glad the Pope is going there. I hope that we will have some real
progress toward freedom and opening there," Clinton said in a television
interview shortly after the Pope landed in Cuba for a historic first visit.
The Pope, asked by reporters on his plane if he had any message for the
United States about the embargo, replied: "To change, to change."
But Clinton, speaking on the PBS program "Newshour with Jim Lehrer," made
clear he had no intention of scrapping a long-standing policy of keeping
the embargo in force until Cuba makes a significant shift toward
"I think that our previous policy, the one that we've had now and the one
we've had through Republican and Democratic administrations of keeping
economic pressure on and in denying the legitimacy of the Cuban government,
has been a good policy," he said.
But he reaffirmed that Washington "would be prepared to respond to a
substantial effort at a political or economic opening by Cuba."
"Nothing would please me greater than to see a new openness there that
would justify our response on our part, and I would like to work on it. And
I think (Cuban President Fidel) Castro knows that," Clinton said.
Clinton described the Polish-born Pontiff as "a very great man," and
acknowledged that the Pope's views on Cuba were shared by all European
leaders. "Only time will tell whether they were right or we were," he
Earlier, a State Department spokesman said: "We understand and respect the
Pope's views opposing the use of economic sanctions in Cuba and elsewhere.
However, the Cuban embargo is a matter of U.S. law and enjoys strong
"I would also note that the Pope has also been critical of oppression and
violations of human rights around the world. We are sure that he will
remain consistent in his message to the people of Cuba," the spokesman,
James Foley, said.
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said the Pope's visit was "clearly
an important one."
"I think we'll be watching very carefully for how the Pope's visit goes
on, and how he is received, and if there is a sustained appreciation of the
possibilities for more religious as well as other freedoms in Cuba," she
Albright said the run-up to the visit had already resulted in some
expansion of religious freedom for Cubans, including recognition of the
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