In a statement before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday he plans to travel to Cuba “in the next week or two” for talks on human rights.
“I may be down there in the next week or two to have a human rights dialogue, specifically,” he said.
Kerry, who went to Cuba last August to raise the U.S. flag over the American Embassy in Havana, told the committee that concerns about the human rights situation in the communist-ruled island still remain.
The secretary’s trip comes ahead of President Barack Obama’s visit to the nation next month, when he will become the first sitting U.S. leader to visit Cuba in nearly 90 years (Former US President Jimmy Carter visited Cuba in 2011).
“The president hopes to press forward on the agenda of speaking to the people of Cuba about the future and obviously he is anxious to press on the rights of people to be able to demonstrate, to have democracy, to be free, to be able to speak and hang a sign in their window without being put in jail for several years,” Kerry said.
“We still have differences with the Cuban government that I will raise directly. America will always stand for human rights around the world,” Obama tweeted. “Next month, I’ll travel to Cuba to advance our progress and efforts that can improve the lives of the Cuban people.”