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Obama meets Cuba dissidents on eve of Castro talks

US President Barack Obama speaks at a civil society forum in the sidelines of the Summit of the Americas in Panama City on April 10, 2015On the eve of an historic meeting with Raul Castro, US President Barack Obama pointedly met two of the Cuban leader’s fiercest critics and launched a staunch defense of opposition activists Friday. In a move that could irritate Havana, Obama held a closed-door discussion with dissident lawyer Laritza Diversent and political activist Manuel Cuesta Moura, along with a dozen other activists from the Americas. Obama and Castro will join some 30 other regional leaders at the Summit of the Americas in Panama for a dinner on Friday, before the two hold talks on Saturday. While declaring that the days of US meddling in the region were over, the first African American president of the United States launched a defiant and markedly personal defense of Washington’s support for opposition groups.

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