The United States will continue to discourage other countries' business dealings with Cuba, even if that strains U.S. relations with European allies, Vice President Al Gore said Saturday.
"Many of our citizens have experienced Castro's repression and have urged us to do more," said Gore. "If our efforts result in tension between us and our allies we'll work hard to manage and eliminate that tension, but we feel strongly that the time has come to pressure Cuba."Gore spoke to Spanish business leaders and students during a visit to meet the new conservative government of Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar.
Gore acknowledged that Spain - one of the largest investors in Cuba - opposes an American law to restrict commerce with the Communist island.
"The objective is not to create animosity with our friends, but to bring pressure on Castro," he said.
"It's time for freedom-loving people to give more moral support to the Cuban people."
But in a later meeting with Aznar, Gore denied any discord with Spain.
Aznar said his government would review Spain's relations with Cuba along the lines of strengthening "democracy, human rights and humanitarian aid."
"We will do nothing to help strengthen Castro, we will do nothing that might hurt the Cuban people," he said.
The Helms-Burton law, signed by President Clinton in March after Cuba shot down two U.S. civilian planes, gives people with claims on property in Cuba the right to sue foreign companies benefiting from it.
It also tightened restrictions on travel and trade involving Cuba and set out guidelines for what sort of government the United States would accept in Cuba.