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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 April, 2003, 08:54 GMT 09:54 UK
US group ends Cuba campaign
There has been international condemnation of Cuba's actions
Cuba's actions have brought widespread condemnation

A United States-based group that campaigned for an end to the American embargo against Cuba has disbanded in protest at recent executions and jailings on the communist-run island.

The entire board of directors from the Cuban Policy Foundation said they were appalled at Cuba's "sudden, wholesale repression of human rights".

In the last month, the Cuban authorities have imprisoned 75 dissidents for terms of up to 28 years and executed three men who hijacked a ferry in a bid to reach the US.

The foundation's members have been at the forefront of moves to lift the four-decade-old US trade embargo against Cuba.

They argued that the embargo had failed in its objective of promoting democratic change on the island.

Announcing its decision to disband, the foundation said it continued to believe that engaging Cuba would advance both US national interests and peaceful political and economic change in Cuba.

But the directors said Fidel Castro's regime "could not have failed to know that its actions would have a chilling effect on efforts here to ease US sanctions".

Conspiracy claim

"We can only conclude ... that in spite of its claims to the contrary, Cuba does not share our enthusiasm for a more open relationship."

The long prison terms imposed on dissidents and the firing squad executions of the three ferry hijackers brought widespread condemnation from governments and human rights groups.

The Cuban authorities defended the jailing of dissidents, saying they were part of a US-funded conspiracy to undermine President Castro's government.

The Cuban Government also says the recent string of hijackings or attempted hijackings is the result of a virtual US guarantee that every Cuban who makes it to US soil will be granted residency.

The Bush administration is said to be considering a further tightening of sanctions on Havana.

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Cuba defends dissident trials
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Cuba ferry hijackers executed
11 Apr 03  |  Americas
US and Cuba's complex relations
09 May 02  |  Americas
Country profile: Cuba
11 Mar 03  |  Country profiles

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