Clinton outlines Cuba policy

May 26, 2008 at 9:06 PM
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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, May 26 (UPI) -- Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton outlined her position on Cuba, saying she would intensify efforts to support "a civil society" in the country.

Speaking to a Cuban community group in Puerto Rico, the New York senator outlined a position that was more in line with Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, than it was with that her Democratic rival, Sen. Barack Obama, The New York Times reported Monday.

Clinton told the group that she would "redouble our efforts to support civil society" in Cuba, but set conditions on any high-level contacts with the communist government there.

"We must do all we can to make sure the government of Cuba makes the right choice," moving away from "the failed policies of the past and charting a new course," she said.

Obama has said repeatedly that he is willing to meet leaders of adversary states like Cuba "without preconditions," but after lower-level diplomatic contacts.

Clinton said that policy falls short.

"I would certainly reach out a hand in friendship if real change were to take place," she said. "But I will not give away the chance for real change."

She said the government of Raul Castro must "show their good faith" by convoking "free

and competitive elections like you have here," by releasing political prisoners, and by allowing the exercise of free expression and assembly.

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