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The president of Uruguay, Luis Alberto Lacalle Pou, received on Monday tokens of appreciation and praise from the Cuban opposition for criticizing the lack of freedoms in Cuba during the summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac) held in Mexico.
“The Assembly of Cuban Resistance, made up of representative forces of the Cuban civil society inside and outside the Island, congratulates and recognizes the Uruguayan president as the most congruent and courageous Latin American leader of the summit,” says a statement issued today.
The Miami-based organization was “deeply grateful” that, in a “highly ideologized” summit, Lacalle has expressed “clearly the suffering of the Cuban people”.
“President Lacalle understands and joins in the pain and struggle of the Cuban people. He has said what Cubans feel and think,” declared activist Sylvia Iriondo, member of the Cuban Resistance Assembly.
Oppositionist Rosa María Payá described Lacalle Pou as “the president of dignity”.
Payá wrote on Twitter thanking Lacalle Pou and the presidents of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso, and Paraguay, Mario Abdo Benítez, for having raised their voices in defense of democracy “in the midst of a shameful #CELAC2021 that tries to wash the face of the repressors of the people of #Cuba and #Venezuela.”
Lacalle Pou, son of Luis Alberto Lacalle Herrera, who was also president of Uruguay and a member of the National or White Party, argued that the country’s participation in the summit held last weekend in Mexico should not mean being complacent with countries where “there is no full democracy.”
“We must say with concern that we see seriously what is happening in Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela,” he said.
However, the highlight for the media was the fact that Lacalle Pou, addressing Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel, recited a verse of the song “Patria y Vida”, which has become an anthem of those who want change and freedom in Cuba.
“Let blood not continue to flow for wanting to think differently. Who told you that Cuba belongs to you, if my Cuba belongs to all my people,” was the fragment chosen by Lacalle from the song created and sung by Yotuel Romero, Alexander Delgado and Randy Malcom, from the duo Gente de Zona, Descemer Bueno, El Osorbo and El Funky.
Cuban writer and exile Carlos Montaner said Lacalle Pou suddenly became the “star” of the presidents’ meeting because of his position in defense of democracy on the island.
“It was very fortunate that he quoted a few lines from ‘Patria y Vida’. Díaz-Canel could not respond because he had no arguments,” he wrote on Twitter.
This weekend the Miami-based Organization of Venezuelan Political Persecuted in Exile (Veppex) declared Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador “persona non grata” “for his support and recognition of dictators Nicolas Maduro and Miguel Diaz-Canel.”
The presence at the summit of Maduro, who is the subject of a 15 million dollar reward issued in 2020 by the United States accusing him of narco-terrorism, was not announced until the last minute.