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US and Cuba agree to continue disagreeing but want to advance

Friday, January 23rd 2015 - 07:04 UTC
Full article 7 comments
The two sides discussed technical issues that need to be worked out to open embassies but, Jacobson said, “I can’t tell you exactly when that will happen.” The two sides discussed technical issues that need to be worked out to open embassies but, Jacobson said, “I can’t tell you exactly when that will happen.”
Addressing a sensitive issue that has angered Cuba for decades, Ms Vidal urged Obama to take more steps to put a dent on the crippling US economic embargo. Addressing a sensitive issue that has angered Cuba for decades, Ms Vidal urged Obama to take more steps to put a dent on the crippling US economic embargo.

The United States and Cuba fell short of setting dates to reopen embassies but agreed to meet again to overcome deep rifts after they wrapped up historic talks aimed at normalizing relations.

 Cuban officials and the highest-ranking US delegation to visit Havana in 35 years praised the tone of their landmark discussions as they work to restore ties broken off in 1961, but they sparred over human rights and admitted to “profound differences.”

They must still discuss a date or location for their next meeting.

It was the first get-together since US President Barack Obama and Cuban leader Raul Castro surprised the world in December when they simultaneously announced plans to normalize ties after decades of enmity.

Roberta Jacobson, the US assistant secretary of state for the Western Hemisphere, said the talks had been “positive and productive.”

The two sides discussed technical issues that need to be worked out to open embassies but, Jacobson said, “I can’t tell you exactly when that will happen.”

The broader goal of normalizing ties will take time, the US official cautioned.

“Those issues that are part of the full range of normalization are complex and they reflect profound differences between our two countries and will continue to be discussed,” she said.

“We have... to overcome more than 50 years of a relationship that was not based on confidence or trust,” she said, one day after her deputy met Cuban officials on migration policy.

After a final round of talks on Thursday afternoon, Jacobson issued a statement saying she had “pressed the Cuban government for improved human rights conditions, including freedom of expression and assembly.”

Jacobson was expected to meet with dissidents on Friday, though an official list of names has not been issued.

The dissident community on the island of 11 million has given a mixed reaction to the rapprochement, praising Obama's effort while voicing concern that too much was conceded to the communist regime.

Cuban delegation chief Josefina Vidal said her government “has never responded to pressures,” but she invited the United States to talk more about human rights because countries with deep differences “can live together.”

Addressing another sensitive issue that has angered Cuba for decades, she urged Obama to take more steps to put a dent on the crippling US economic embargo.

Last week, the US Treasury Department eased travel restrictions for certain categories of American visitors to Cuba and removed some trade obstacles.

Much of Thursday's talks centered on how to turn their “interests sections,” which opened in 1977, into fully functioning embassies with ambassadors in Washington and Havana.

Vidal said it was difficult to reopen the Cuban embassy in Washington when Havana remains on a list of state sponsors of terrorism and the US embargo has blocked its mission from accessing banking services.

Top Comments

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  • zathras

    “To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war.”

    Winston Spencer Churchill

    Jan 23rd, 2015 - 01:08 pm 0
  • Nevada George

    It will happen.
    My bet is that the US will make more concessions than Cuba.
    Many US corporations are salivating at the new business prospects.
    A large number Cubans living in the US still have relatives in Cuba
    So... I expect there will soon be relaxed restrictions on money flow to Cuban relatives.
    Read US/Cuban update....
    http://www.openeyesopinion.com/united-states-and-cuba-relations-a-new-era-begins/

    Jan 23rd, 2015 - 04:54 pm 0
  • Captain Poppy

    Money restrictions and debit and credit card use has been loosened last week. The is hardly a demographic in Cuba the American businesses are salivating over. a population of barely 12 million, I hardly think they have the money to buy, at least for now. I would say business is more likely to relocate there the manufacture....cheap labor and low import costs. American businesses will the the impetus to Cuban middle class growth which in turn will turn on the dictators. They will eventually demand elections.

    Jan 23rd, 2015 - 08:42 pm 0
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