The Cuban government surely doesn’t like the idea that President Obama is seeking changes in its internal policies, and the
But yesterday, in advance of a hemispheric summit that will in significant measure be about the one country that is not invited, both sides were talking about dialogue with each other. This AP roundup of the day’s signals senses a potential turning point.
President Obama got the ball rolling in a press conference in
“Having taken the first step, I think it is very much in our interest to see whether
In a press conference in
“We stand ready to discuss with Cuba additional steps that could be taken, but we do expect Cuba to reciprocate…We would like to see Cuba open up its society, release political prisoners, open up to outside opinions and media, have the kind of society that we all know that would improve the opportunities for the Cuban people and for their nation.”
“We have sent word to the U.S. government in private and in public that we are willing to discuss everything – human rights, freedom of the press, political prisoners, everything…We’re willing to sit down to talk as it should be done, whenever…I’m confirming it here today: If they want the freedom of those political prisoners, who include some confessed terrorists, Guatemalans and Salvadorans who were tried and sentenced…free our prisoners and we’ll send them to you with their families and whatever they want – those so-called dissidents and patriots.”
Video of his remarks are at Penultimos Dias.
If a change in Cuban human rights practices is a
In that case, the missing piece would seem to be a
That would be a matter of political will for the Obama Administration, which is committed to pursuing “tough, direct diplomacy without preconditions with all nations, friend and foe.”
I remain convinced that the most practical place to start would be talks on migration, drug interdiction, and environmental protection. Both sides have an interest in these neighborhood issues. There is already cooperation on migration and drugs, and
[Update: “We have seen Raul Castro”s comments and we welcome his overtures,” Secretary Clinton said in
OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza has long said that he wants to debate the