President Obama's Responses Yoani Sanchez'sQuestions to Thank you for this opportunity to exchange views with you

and your readers in Cubaand aroundthe world and congratulations receivingthe Maria Moore on CabotPrize awardfrom the ColumbiaUniversity GraduateSchoolofJournalism for coverage ofLatin America that furthersinter-Americanunderstanding. You richly deserved award. 1was disappointed were deniedthe ability to the you travel to receivethe award in persono

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Your blog providesthe world a uniquewidow into the realities of daily life in Cuba. It is telling that the Internethasprovidedyou and other courageous Cuban bloggerswith an outlet to express yourself so freely, and 1 applaudyour collective efforts to empowerfellow Cubansto express themselves through the useof technology. The govemmentandpeopleof the United States join all of you in looking forward to the day all Cubanscan freely express themselves public in without fear and without reprisals. QUESTION #1: FOR YEARS, CUBA HAS BEEN A U.S. FOREIGN POLICY ISSUEAS WELL AS A DOMESTIC ONE, IN PARTICULAR BECAUSE OF , THE LARGE CUBAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY. FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE,IN WHICH OF THE TWO CATEGORIES SHOULD THE CUBAN ISSUE FIT?

AII foreignpolicy issues involvedomestic components, especially issues

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concemingneighborslike Cuba from which fue United States a large has immigrant populationand with which we havea long history of relations. Our commitmentto protect and supportfree speech, humanrights, and democratic govemance home and aroundthe world also cuts across foreign at the policy/domesticpolicy divide. AIso, many ofthe challenges sharedby our two countries,including migration, drugtrafficking, and economicissues,involve traditional domesticand foreign policy concems. Thus,U.S. relationswith Cuba arerightly seenin both a foreign and domesticpolicy contexto QUESTION 2: SHOULD YOUR ADMINISTRATION BE WILLING TO PUT AN END TO TRIS DISPUTE, WOULD IT RECOGNIZE THE LEGITIMACY

-2OF THE RAUL CASTRO GOVERNMENT ÁS THE ONL y V ALID INTERLOCUTOR IN THE EVENTUAL T ALKS?

As 1havesaid before,1 am prepared havemy administrationengage to with the Cubangovernmenton a rangeof issuesof mutual interestaswe havealreadydone in the migration and direct mail talks. It is algomy intent to facilitate greater contactwith fue Cubanpeople,especiallyamongdivided Cubanfamilies, which 1 havedoneby removing U.S. restrictionson family visits andremittances. We seekto engage with Cubansoutsideof the governmentaswe do eIsewhere aroundthe worId, asthe government, course,is not the onIy voice that matters of in Cuba. We take every opportunityto interactwith the fuII rangeof Cuban societyand Iook forward to the day when fue government reflectsthe freeIy expressed of the CubanpeopIe. wiII QUESTION 3: HAS THE U.S. GOVERNMENT RENOUNCED THE USE OF MILITARY FORCE AS THE WAY TO END THE DISPUTE? The United Stateshasno intention of using military force in Cuba. The United Statessupportsincreased respectfor humanrights and for political and economic freedomsin Cuba,and hopesthat !he Cubangovernment will respondto the desire of the Cubanpeopleto enjoy the benefitsof democracy and be able to freely determine Cuba's future. Only the Cubanpeoplecan bring aboutpositive change in Cubaand it is our hopethat they will soonbe ableto exercisetheir full potential, QUESTION 4: RAUL CASTRO HAS SAID PUBLICL y THA T HE IS OPEN TO DISCUSSANY TOPIC WITH THE U.S. PROVIDED THERE IS MUTUAL RESPECTAND A LEVEL PLA YING FIELD. IS RAUL ASKING TOO MUCH? For years,I have saidthat it is time to purguedirect diplomacy,without preconditions, with friends and foes illike. I am not interested, however,in talking for the sakeof talking. In the caseof Cuba,suchdiplomacy shouldcreate opportunitiesto advance interestsof the United Statesand the causeof freedom the for the Cubanpeople. We havealreadyinitiated a dialogueon afeasof mutual concem- gafe,legal, and orderly migration, and reestablishing direct mail service. Theseare small steps,

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but an importantpart of a processto move U.~ .-Cuban relations in a new and more positive, direction. Achieving a more normal relationship,however,will require actionby the Cubangovernment. QUESTION 5: IN A HYPOTHETICAL U.S.-CUBA DIALOGUE, WOULD YOU ENTERTAIN PARTICIPA TION FROM THE CUBAN EXILE COMMUNITY, THE CUBA-BASED OPPOSITIONGROUPSAND NASCENT CUBAN CIVIL SOCIETY GROUPS? When consideringany policy decision,it is critical to listen to asmany diverse voicesaspossible. When it comesto Cuba,we do exactly that. The U.S. government regularly talks with groupsand individuals inside and outsideof Cuba that have an interestin our relations. Many do not alwaysagreewith the Cuban government; many do not alwaysagreewith the United Statesgovernment; and many do not agreewith eachother. What we shouldall be able to agreeon moving forward is the needto listen to the concerns Cubanswho live on the of island. This is why everythingyou are doing to project your voice is so important - not just for the advancement the freedomof expression of itself, but algofor peopleoutsideof Cubato gain a betterunderstanding the life, struggles, of joys, and dreamsof Cubanson fue island.
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QUESTION 6: YOU STRONGL SUPPORT y THE DEVELOPMENT OF NEW COMMUNICATION AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES. BUT, CUBANS CONTINUE TO HA VE LIMITED ACCESSTO THE INTERNET. HOW MUCH OF THIS IS DUE TO THE U.S. EMBARGO AND HOW MUCH

OF IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY THE CUBAN GOVERNMENT? OF

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My administrationhastaken important stepsto promotethe free flow of informationto and from the Cubanpeopleparticularly through new technologies. We havemadepossiblegreatertelecommunications links to advanceinteraction betweenCubancitizens and fue outsideworld. This will increase means the throughwhich Cubanson the island can communicate with eachother andwith personsoutsideof Cuba,for example,by expandingopportunitiesfor fiber optic and satellitetransmissions and from Cuba. This will not happenovemight. Nor to will it haveits full effect without positive actionsby the Cubangovernment. 1 understand Cubangovernmenthasannounced plan to provide Cubans the a greater

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access the Internet at post offices. I am following this development to with interest and urge the governmentto allow its peopleto enjoy unrestrictedaccess fue to internetandto information. In addition,we welcomesuggestions regardingafeas in which we can further supportthe free flow of information within, from, andto Cuba. QUESTION 7: WOULD YOU BE WILLING TO TRAVEL TO OUR COUNTRY? 1would neverrule out a courseof actionthat could advance interestsof the the United Statesand advance causeof freedomfor the Cubanpeople. At the same the time, diplomatic tools shouldbe usedonly after careful preparationandaspart of a clear strategy. 1 look forward to visit a Cubain which all citizens enjoy the same rights and opportunitiesas other citizensin the hemisphere.

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