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Hillary Clinton

A day before the Summit of the Americas, the theme of hostility between States and Cuba is dominating diplomatic activity in the region.

President Barack Obama, who is trying to open a new era of cooperation with Latin America and the Caribbean at the three-day meeting in Trinidad and Tobago, eased some parts of the trade embargo on Cuba.

In a meeting with René Preval at Haiti Clinton said she agreed with the emphasis on moving toward dialogue throughout the hemisphere. "We stand ready to discuss with Cuba additional steps that could be taken," she said.

But she made clear Washington was also waiting for Havana to make a contribution to an improvement of relations.

"We would like to see Cuba open up its society, release political prisoners, open up to outside opinion and media and have the kind of society that we all know would improve the opportunities for the Cuban people," Clinton said.

In the buildup to the summit, Obama has faced a growing chorus of calls from Latin American governments -- including regional heavyweight Brazil and oil producer Venezuela -- to end the U.S. policy of trying to isolate Cuba.


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