Diario de Cuba, 23 January 2014 — The Ladies in White will seek a meeting with Jose Miguel Insulza, secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS), during the CELAC Summit in Havana, according to what their leader, Berta Soler, told the AFP press agency this Wednesday.
“We will request a meeting with Insulza, OAS Secretary; tomorrow we will submit the request,” Soler said.
The office of the OAS office in Washington reported Friday that Insulza “responded positively” to the invitation to the Second Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), on the 28th and 29th of this month.
This will be the first visit by a Secretary General of the OAS to Cuba in half a century, since the island’s membership was suspended in 1962; Cuba refused to return in 2009, when the organization lifted its veto.
At the 1999 Ibero-American Summit in Havana, heads of state and government, foreign ministers and senior officials from Spain, Portugal, Mexico, Uruguay, Nicaragua and Costa Rica, held meetings with dissidents in Havana.
The activist Elizardo Sanchez, head of the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, said the visiting statesmen’s agenda is “very limited” and his organization does not foresee any meetings.
“Other times we talked to dignitaries (who come to Havana) but it was on their initiative,” said Sanchez, one of those most active at the summit in 1999.
He said that “there is some nervousness on the part of the government and there is a police presence on the homes of active opposition” to avoid demonstrations at the meeting.
For his part, former political prisoner Jose Daniel Ferrer, who from Santiago de Cuba leads the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) told AFP: “I will participate on Tuesday the 28th in the second Democratic Forum on International Relations and Human Rights,” which will be held in Havana, sponsored by Argentina foundation Center for Opening and Development of Latin America (Cadal)
He recalled that the first forum took place in Santiago de Chile, in January 2013 , prior to the CELAC-European Union Summit.
He said the venue of the meeting as het to be decided, but he expects the participation of other opponents.