Monday, June 14, 2021

Leahy-Blinken Dialog on Vietnam and Cuba

 

Senate Appropriations Committee, June 8, 2023

Senate Appropriations Committee Hearing on State Department Fiscal Year 2022 Budget | C-SPAN.org

https://www.c-span.org/video/?512200-1/secretary-state-blinken-testifies-2022-budget#

 

Senator Leahy

I ALSO LOOK AT VIETNAM, WHERE MANY OF US HERE HAVE GONE, I'VE GONE THERE SEVERAL TIMES WITH THE LEAHY WAR VICTIMS' FUND. THE FIRST TIME WITH THE HELP OF GEORGE H.W. BUSH. WE SEE VIETNAM'S ECONOMY GROWING. ITS PEOPLE ARE EAGER TO COMPETE IN THE GLOBAL ECONOMY. BUT THEY'RE A ONE-PARTY STATE. POLITICAL DISSENT IS NOT TOLERATED. WE CAN GO THERE FREELY, SPEND MONEY FREELY, WE DO. WE GIVE AID TO THEM, COOPERATE WITH VIETNAM IN MANY AREAS, RAISE HUMAN RIGHTS WITH THEM. I MENTION THAT BECAUSE CLOSER TO HOME, CUBA IS A ONE PARTY STATE. POLITICAL DISSENT IS NOT TOLERATED. WHY DON'T WE HAVE A SIMILAR RELATIONSHIP WITH CUBA? BECAUSE I SEE IT AS WE ISOLATE THEM. I HAVE TO THINK THAT THE RUSSIANS AND THE CHINESE ARE SAYING, KEEP ISOLATING THEM BECAUSE WE'LL COME IN. WE'LL HELP WITH JOBS. MANY OF US HAVE VISITED YOUNG PEOPLE WHO ARE STARTING THEIR OWN COMPANIES, SUDDENLY SHUT OFF FROM VISITORS FROM THE U.S. THEY'RE RIGHT ON OUR -- THEY'RE JUST A FEW MILES FROM OUR SHORE. IF WE KEEP EXCLUDEING THEM, WHAT'S GOING TO BE OUR REACTION WHEN CHINA AND RUSSIA SAY, HEY, WE'LL COME IN HERE, WE'LL HELP YOU OUT. WE'LL DO WHAT THE AMERICANS TRIED TO DO TO BEGIN WITH. WHAT WOULD THE REACTION BE TO THAT?

00:30:50

Secretary Blinken

FIRST ON VIETNAM, I COULDN'T AGREE MORE WE SAW A PROFOUND TRANSFORMATION IN THE RELATIONSHIP. I THINK BILATERAL TRADE IS LIKE $90 BILLION, WE HAVE A GROWING SECURITY RELATIONSHIP, COOPERATION IN PUBLIC HEALTH, EDUCATION, THE LEGACIES OF WAR -- I HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO GO THERE SEVERAL TIMES WHEN I WAS DEPUTY SECRETARY. AND, OF COURSE, AS YOU KNOW -- AS MANY OF YOU KNOW, IT'S A PLACE WHERE THE UNITED STATES IS VERY POPULAR. AND WE ARE WORKING TO DEEPEN THAT PARTNERSHIP. THE PRESIDENT'S INTERIM NATIONAL SECURITY GUIDANCE CALLS ON US TO DEEPEN THE RELATIONSHIP AND WORK HAS BEEN DONE ACROSS ADMINISTRATIONS TO DO THAT. WITH REGARD TO CUBA, MR. CHAIRMAN. WE'RE CONDUCTING A VERY THOROUGH REVIEW OF OUR POLICY. AND IN DOING THAT, WE ARE ENGAGING WITH MEMBERS OF CONGRESS, PEOPLE FROM DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES, ALL OF THE DIFFERENT STAKEHOLDERS, BOTH IN CUBA, OUTSIDE CUBA, WHETHER IT'S ACTIVISTS, JOURNALISTS, NGOs,THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY, WE WANT TO GET AS MUCH INPUT AS WE CAN AS WE ARE LOOKING AT THE POLICY. I THINK WE HAVE A COUPLE OF GUIDING PRINCIPLES IN MIND. ONE IS TO MAKE SURE WE ARE DOING EVERYTHING WE CAN TO ADVANCE DEMOCRACY AND FREEDOM FOR THE CUBAN PEOPLE AND DOING IT IN A WAY THAT EMPOWERS THE CUBAN PEOPLE TO SHAPE THEIR OWN FUTURES AND DESTINIES. WE'RE LOOKING AT THE DIFFERENT POLICY COMPONENTS THAT WOULD GO ALONG WITH THAT. I WELCOME THE OPPORTUNITY TO SPEAK TO YOU, TO SPEAK TO ANYONE INTERESTED IN THIS AS WE'RE CONDUCTING THE REVIEW, AND YOUR INPUT, YOUR IDEAS ARE VITAL IN THAT.

 

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