Saturday, April 10, 2010, Rabi us Sani 24, 1431 A.H  
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 Cuba leaders 'do not want' normal ties with US: Clinton
 Updated at: 0902 PST,  Saturday, April 10, 2010
 WASHINGTON: Cuba's leadership does not want to normalize ties with Washington because they would "lose their excuses" for the country's economic stagnation, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Friday.

Clinton however blamed Castro and his brother Fidel Cuba's leader from 1959 to 2008 for undermining Washington's bid to improve relations.

Despite US efforts to "enhance cooperation," Clinton said that the Castro brothers "do not want to see an end to the embargo and do not want to see normalization with the United States because they would then lose all their excuses for what hasn't happened in Cuba in the last 50 years," Clinton said.

"I find that very sad, because there should be an opportunity for a transition" to democracy in Cuba," said Clinton, who was answering a student's question during a visit to the University of Louisville in the state of Kentucky. "The people of Cuba should have democratically elected leaders and a chance to chart their own future. But unfortunately, I don't see that happening while the Castros are still in charge," the top US diplomat said.

Clinton also noted what she said was a growing acknowledgment from the international community that Havana was cracking down on human rights.

"For the first time, a lot of countries that had done nothing but berate the United States for our failure to be more open to Cuba have now started criticizing Cuba because they let people die," she said.

"Many in the world are now seeing what we have seen for a long time, which is a very intransigent, entrenched regime that has stifled the opportunity for the Cuban people."
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