Thursday, November 15, 2012

Reporter questions "crappy policy" toward Cuba

Screenshot of Matt Lee appearing on C-SPAN in 2009
Associated Press reporter Matthew Lee on Tuesday asked State Department spokesman Mark Toner when the United States government was going to recognize that U.S. economic sanctions against Cuba amount to "a realy crappy policy."

Here's the exchange:

QUESTION: All right. Can we stay with the UN just for a second?

MR. TONER: Yeah. Sure.

QUESTION: Earlier today, the UN General Assembly, as it has every year for the past several decades, voted overwhelmingly to condemn the U.S. embargo of Cuba. The vote, I’m sure you’re aware of it, was 188-3. You and Israel and Palau voted against, as the same that’s it been for the last several decades. My question is this: When are you guys going to realize that the rest of the world thinks that this is a really crappy policy?

Mark Toner
MR. TONER: Matt, your opinion to the contrary, we are --

QUESTION: Not my opinion. It’s the rest of the world. You’re always talking about the international community. The international community has spoken here, yet again.

MR. TONER: Our policy remains in place.

QUESTION: I know. But when – is it the international community speaks and unless you’re part of that – unless you’re part of it, it’s not really the international community? Do you recognize that the international community, all countries in the world except for the three and the three who abstained, say that this policy is bad and should be reversed? Do you take that as the international community speaking as – with a single voice here?

MR. TONER: Look, our Cuba policy is generated towards creating better ties with the Cuban people outside of the government. You know our concerns about the Cuban Government. Our policy remains the same. It’s not going to change.

QUESTION: Can you accept that the international community is speaking out here, and speaking out against a policy that you’ve had in place for five decades?

MR. TONER: I’m just telling you that --

QUESTION: No? You can’t.

MR. TONER: -- our Cuban policy remains intact.

Yes.

QUESTION: No, no.

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