U.S. Considers EU Policy Toward Cuba

Secretary of State Colin Powell said Sunday the United States may join with the European Union in adopting a common strategy toward Cuba (search).

The effort is in response to the Castro government's recent crackdown on pro-democracy activists on the island.

The European Union (search) said last week it was beginning a review of its relations with Cuba, and members of the 15-nation blocs unanimously agreed to cut down on high-level governmental visits.

The action signaled the EU's displeasure of the crackdown on dissidents, including the sentencing of 75 people to prison terms of up to 28 years and the firing-squad executions of three convicted hijackers of a ferry.

Powell, who spoke to reporters while traveling to Chile for a meeting of Organization of American States (search) foreign ministers, did not specify what joint U.S.-E.U. action he had in mind.

"The world is starting to take note" of the crackdown, Powell said.

He said he planned to highlight the issue during a Monday speech in Chile.

The Bush administration has taken no concrete steps in response to the moves by Cuban authorities against the dissidents. The Cuban government has said that the dissidents were counterrevolutionaries who were working in league with the U.S. diplomatic mission in Cuba.

The main theme of the OAS meeting will be the strengthening of democracy in Latin America. Powell has separate meetings with the foreign ministers of Chile, Brazil and Peru.

He also has a meeting with Chilean President Ricardo Lagos (search) and with OAS Secretary-General Cesar Gaviria.

On Tuesday morning, Powell will fly to Argentina for talks with that country's newly installed president, Nestor Kirchner, before returning to Washington.