Mauricio Claver-Carone, executive director of Cuba Democracy Advocates, blasted President Barack Obama in an interview Monday on MSNBC.
Host Thomas Roberts asked Claver-Carone if he thought Obama’s trip to the communist country could help bring about change.
“Well, the bare minimum for President Obama on his trip would be the standard set by President Carter in 2002, obviously as a former president, when he actually spoke on live television to all Cubans and he recognized the Varela Project at the time, and Oswaldo Payá, the courageous democracy leader who actually gathered over 25,000 signatures asking for fundamental freedoms in Cuba,” Claver-Carone said. “I know that Oswaldo Payá was then murdered a couple of years ago under the regime of General Raul Castro.”
After noting that many protesters who were supposed to meet with President Obama have gone missing over the past couple of days, Claver-Carone later criticized Starwood Hotels for their new deal with the Cuban government to begin running hotels in Cuba.
“One of the things that we’re seeing is this Starwood Hotel deal. This is a deal that’s being done directly with the Cuban military, with Raul Castro’s son-in-law, General Luis Alberto Rodríguez López-Callejas,” Claver-Carone said.
“If we would have done that in the 1980s, say, President Reagan would have been cutting deals with Gen. Pinochet’s son-in-law, business deals, President Obama would have been on a college campus protesting that and yet somehow we’re getting this news today like this is OK. We’re entrenching, doing, cutting business deals with regimes that violate every single international labor convention and fundamental human rights standard.”