In an exclusive interview with the Miami Herald, Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday that human rights will be a key issue in his upcoming talks with Cuban officials.
“Human rights is obviously at the top of our agenda in terms of the first things that will be focused on in our direct engagement with the (Cuban) government. I will sit down with my counterpart while I’m there on Friday. We will talk very directly about a roadmap toward real, full normalization,” Kerry said in the interview with the Herald and CNN en Espanol.
That would include the lifting of embargo and “the ability of people of engaging in the democratic process, to elect people, to have their own choices,” he said.
Kerry leaves Friday for a one-day trip to Cuba to preside over the raising of the U.S. flag at the U.S. Embassy in Havana. The move comes after the U.S. and Cuba resumed diplomatic relations July 20. Cuban officials raised the Cuban flag at their embassy in Washington on the first day of the new relationship.
Human rights has been a sticking point in continuing negotiations over normalizing relations. Kerry said in the interview Wednesday that he plans to make it a top issue in his meetings in Havana.