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Obama/Castro in Panama: 'grip and grin” photo or historic head-to-head sit down?

Wednesday, April 8th 2015 - 17:40 UTC
Full article 16 comments
“Leaders are together a lot of the time,” at the summit said Roberta Jacobson. “And so there will be an interaction with Raul Castro.” “Leaders are together a lot of the time,” at the summit said Roberta Jacobson. “And so there will be an interaction with Raul Castro.”
In December 2013, amid an upwelling of amity that followed Nelson Mandela's death, the pair shook hands briefly at a memorial service in Johannesburg. In December 2013, amid an upwelling of amity that followed Nelson Mandela's death, the pair shook hands briefly at a memorial service in Johannesburg.

President Barack Obama will attend a Summit of the Americas in Panama this week, a gathering that could see the first substantive meeting between US and Cuban leaders in half a century.

The US president, fresh from reaching a tentative nuclear accord with arch-foe Iran, will jet to Jamaica then on to Panama City Thursday for a regular meeting of continental leaders.

Raul Castro -- who took control of the 11-million-strong still nominally Communist island from his brother Fidel seven years ago -- has confirmed he will be the first Cuban leader to attend.

But with days to go, diplomats are still discussing what form a Castro-Obama meeting might take.

Options range from a simple “grip-and-grin” photo, to an historic head-to-head sit down.

“The leaders are together a lot of the time,” at the summit said senior State Department official Roberta Jacobson. “And so there will be an interaction with Raul Castro.”

In December 2013, amid an upwelling of amity that followed Nelson Mandela's death, the pair shook hands briefly at a memorial service in Johannesburg.

This time round officials are looking for something a bit more substantive.
“It's useful, obviously, to be able to have that contact and move things along so that we can get things done and open embassies and move ahead with this relationship,” said Jacobson.

Last December, Obama declared he would “put an end to an outdated approach” to Cuba that was seeped in Cold War animosity and marked by crises that defined a generation -- the Bay of Pigs, the 1962 Missile Crisis.

Obama said diplomatic relations would be restored and the US would move toward ending a crippling embargo that Cuba alleges has cost it more than one trillion dollars over five decades.

 

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  • ilsen

    I wonder how this will play out in Caracas?

    Maburro will be sweating in his chinese-made polyester track-suit wondering how far his best mate will sell him out, now he can no longer subsidise Cuba due to the oil-price collapse.

    Apr 08th, 2015 - 05:46 pm 0
  • yankeeboy

    I said a couple years ago that the USA fracking and our abundant oil and gas would change the world dynamics.
    Always hard to see where a change will lead.

    Apr 08th, 2015 - 07:44 pm 0
  • ChrisR

    Perhaps Obumma wants to leave a legacy when he leaves office which will endure a 1,000 years.

    He has singularly failed so far and putting his trust in an unreconstructed multi-millionaire commie bastard doesn't seem like the right play to me.

    Apr 08th, 2015 - 08:03 pm 0
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