US-Cuba Talks Cautiously Progressing

For anyone still reading a plan out there, the update is that US-Cuba relations seem to be improving.  We had one of the most celebrated handshakes ever:



For those of you who did not hear the news, Obama initiated a handshake with Raul Castro at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service.  Some loved it and some thought it was a sign of our coming communist revolution.  You can read about some of the reactions here.

On the heals of this, the U.S. sent a delegation to have face-to-face talks with delegates for Cuba about immigration.  Some speculate immigration could have been a starting point for a larger discussion.  The U.S. still claims it wants liberal reforms for reduced sanctions, but word is that talks went swimmingly:

“Last week came perhaps the clearest sign so far that change is on the way. The leader of a US delegation to Cuba for talks on immigration issues said that his discussions had been “very constructive and have led to some positive outcomes.” The official State Department press statement is non-committal, but at a press conference in Havana, Edward Alex Lee, who is acting deputy assistant secretary of state for western hemisphere affairs, wasmore forthcoming, saying that “over the course of the past year and a half we have been able to speak to each other in a respectful and thoughtful manner.”

According to the BBC report, he said that the US is “very open” to building a new relationship with Cuba, although of course he added that it still wanted to see “fundamental” political change. Even the official statement says that the talks “highlighted areas of successful cooperation.””

Could this be a turning of the tide of relations and a scaled back embargo?  We may actually be seeing the gradualism DA come to life.

“Talks between the United States and Cuba, a rare event in themselves, have proceeded well. There seems to be a dawning realisation that sanctions have outlived their relevance.”

You can read the rest yesterday’s article from Crikey here.


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