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‘We stand by you’: Obama speaks to Cuban dissidents ahead of meeting with Raul Castro

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US President Barack Obama met two Cuban dissidents Friday, ahead of a historic meeting with the communist regime’s leader, Raul Castro.

Obama held a closed-door meeting with prominent critics of Castro’s regime, as well as a dozen other dissidents from the Americas, in a move sure to provoke ire in Havana.

Obama — flanked by the leaders of Costa Rica and Uruguay — met lawyer Laritza Diversent and political activist Manuel Cuesta Moura.

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The gathering took place on the sidelines of a civil society meeting linked to the Summit of the Americas in Panama.

Before the closed-door meeting, Obama told rights activists from across the region that “(we) stand by you every step of the way.”

“When we speak out on behalf of somebody who has been imprisoned for no other reason than because they spoke truth to power, when we are helping an organization that is trying to empower a minority inside a country get more access to resources, we’re not doing that because it serves our own interests,” Obama said.

“We’re doing it because we think it’s the right thing to do.”


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Massive new fence construction at White House draws howls of laughter: ‘Mexico might actually pay for this wall!’

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President Donald Trump may no longer be hunkering down in a bunker, but he does seem to be building a lot more fencing around the White House.

CNN reporter Betsy Klein on Thursday posted a video showing a massive amount of new fencing being built at the White House, which is part of an effort to limit anti-police brutality protesters' ability to demonstrate directly in front of the building.

More fencing going up around the White House complex early this morning pic.twitter.com/VLBRnx1lgz

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Memorial service to be held for George Floyd after week of protests

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A memorial service was to be held Thursday for George Floyd after more than a week of nationwide protests over the African American's death at the hands of a white police officer.

Led by civil rights activist Al Sharpton, the ceremony will be held in Minneapolis, where Floyd died on May 25 after being detained by police.

A video showing white officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes as he pleaded for his life triggered rioting in the city and unleashed a nationwide wave of civil unrest unlike any seen in the US since the 1968 assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

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‘This isn’t going away’: Defying curfews and police brutality in relentless push for justice, uprising over killing of George Floyd keeps growing

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"Essential workers are exempt from the curfew, and what we are doing here is essential."

Refusing to be cowed by militaristic intimidation tacticsmass arrestsdraconian curfews, and violence endorsed and directly ordered by the Trump administration, tens of thousands of people demanding justice for the police killing of George Floyd—and so many others—took to the streets across the U.S. once more Wednesday in a powerful signal that the nationwide uprising is only growing in the face of repression.

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