Belarus: Europe’s Cuba

An interview with Radek Sikorski, Poland’s Foreign Minister, where he calls Belarus, Europe’s “Cuba”:

Polish FM: Belarusians want freedom

Belarus is “Europe’s Cuba” and its people are yearning for freedom just like the tens of thousands who have taken to the streets in Tunis and Cairo, Poland’s foreign minister said Thursday.

Radek Sikorski warned that the same sudden leadership change that hit Tunisia _ whose dictator was ousted in January after 23 years in power _ could happen in Belarus, Poland’s neighbor to the east.

Poland is taking the lead in organizing the European Union to support democratic change in Belarus, a country of 10 million that held widely disputed elections in December which kept strongman President Alexander Lukashenko in power.

Lukashenko claimed 80 percent of the vote but independent observers rejected the election as flawed. After polls closed, the government jailed hundreds of dissidents, including seven of the nine presidential candidates who had challenged Lukashenko.

Sikorski was interviewed by The Associated Press at his office a day after he hosted a donor conference that pledged $120 million from 40 countries to support democratic change in Belarus.

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