Washington: The United States firmly believes that Cuban ruler Fidel Castro should go, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told lawmakers on Thursday, but conceded that this policy is not going anywhere.
"Our position has been the same for more than 50 years. We think Fidel Castro should go. That is the unfortunate commitment that we have put forth over many years.”
"Unfortunately, he doesn`t seem to be going anywhere," Hillary told lawmakers at a Congressional hearing.
She said the US strongly supports the desire of the Cuban people to freely determine their future and wants to help those who are trying to work toward positive change.
"So we do support a wide variety of activities on the island. We interact with a broad cross-section of individuals and groups in Cuban society. And we provide humanitarian assistance, including food, over-the-counter medicines and so much more," Hillary said.
The Secretary of State said while the US wants democracy in Cuba and move towards reform, it would also keep working with individuals.
"We have a lot of areas of mutual concern. We have drug trafficking, we have immigration, we have all kinds of issues," she said, adding that US officials keep meeting their Cuban counterparts.
"Our main objective for the last two years has been to ensure Alan Gross` unconditional release," she said referring to the American national detained in Cuba.
"So at no point has the US government been willing to give unilateral concessions to the Castro regime or to ease sanctions as a means to secure Mr Gross` release," she said.
"I will underscore we think it is a gross violation of his human rights and a humanitarian abuse that he has not been returned to his family. And we would like to see that happen as soon as possible," Hillary said in response to a question.