CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta had a tense exchange with Cuban President Raúl Castro on Monday over political prisoners in Cuba.
At a press conference, Acosta asked Castro about whether Cuba would release its political prisoners. Acosta noted he has Cuban heritage.
Castro, a former Cuban revolutionary, seemed incredulous.
“Did you ask if we had political prisoners?” Castro asked back.
Acosta replied: “I wanted to know if you have Cuban political prisoners and why you don’t release them.”
Castro then got defensive.
“Give me a list of the political prisoners and I will release them immediately,” Castro said.
Just mention a list. What political prisoners? Give me a name or names or when after this meeting is over, you can give me a list of political prisoners and if we have those political prisoners they will be released before tonight ends.
Cuba, a communist country, still holds political prisoners, according to a 2015 report from Human Rights Watch.
“Cubans who criticise the government continue to face the threat of criminal prosecution,” according to the report. “They do not benefit from due process guarantees, such as the right to fair and public hearings by a competent and impartial tribunal.”
The press conference with Castro was part of President Barack Obama’s landmark visit to Cuba, the first for a US president in 88 years. The US agreed to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba in late 2014.
Here’s video of the exchange:
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