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“I”ve never seen an American Embassy employee or any other embassy”s officials handling money transfers to opposition groups,” he said.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez, who was born in Cuba, said Sunday that the Bush administration seeks to spotlight the plight of political prisoners on the island.

“These are people who in many cases have just disagreed with the regime,” Mr. Gutierrez told CNN. “The problem is communism. It doesn’t work. The problem is the policies in Cuba, the repression, the fear.”

Carmen Gentile contributed to this article from Miami.