Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Talks in Havana

Apart from the talks on resuming postal service, a State Department official talked with Cuban officials about other matters including migration, and with opposition figures – an orientation visit that would have been routine before the Bush Administration. Coverage from AFP here, Washington Post here, El Nuevo Herald here.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Apparently, the Bush Administration did not need "orientation visits" to understand the situation in Cuba. Be that as it may, the visit of a State department flunky doesn't obscure the fact that Obama Administration is continuing the Bush policy of trying to empower the Cuban people at the expense of the regime.

chingon

Anonymous said...

I question the sensitivity and sense of diplomacy of the State Department envoy who, after meeting with government officials on mail-and-migration issues, engages in a strategy meeting with the opposition leaders who are viewed by the Castro government as a mercenary Fifth Column.
Whatever credibility and trust she may have generated among her hosts must surely have vanished the minute she summoned the oppositionists to the U.S. Interests Section for tea and crumpets. Did she tell them what she and Dagoberto RodrĂ­guez talked about? Did she bring them instructions from Washington? Maybe not, but you're not going to convince the MINREX otherwise.
Very ineptly handled, I think.
/s/NEWSPAPERMAN.

Anonymous said...

Newspaperman,

Do you know for a fact that the MINREX was not informed in advance of the itinerary of Deputy Assistant Secretary Williams? The fact that the news only leaked now makes it appear as it was a very private meeting with the tacit approval of the Cuban government. Otherwise the Cuban government would have gone ape by now. It would be surprising if there were no other meetings with non-government players such as the Catholic church hierarchy, etc.

The recent arrest of a Proyecto Varela activist in Santiago may be a signal by the Cuban government to the Cuban dissidents to keep a low profiles. It is to the advantage of the Cuban government to allow these and other dissidents to have their political space free of harassment. So hopefully this activist will be freed soon. It diminishes tensions, and allows for dialogue on bigger issues.

Vecino de NF

Anonymous said...

On one hand, the Administration feels the need to burnish its anti-Bush credentials by meeting with regime flunkies and other assorted gimmicks. On the other, the adults in the Administration realize they can't abandon the dissidents, for moral reasons and political -- no matter how much the bootlicking brigade brays.

chingon

Anonymous said...

Vecino, the imprisoned dissident from Santiago will not be released. Do not confuse Batistiano-policies against "seditious acts" with the mores of Fidel. On the grounds of political and social tensions, to appease the general public and opposition abroad, Batista freed his foes. Whereas the fashion in which Batista operated, Fidel does not expose such vulnerability, as his protracted 50-year anniversary indicates. Had Fidel been more like Batista, Cuba would have been liberated long ago - though for a second time. The dissident will be committed to a ward and shock-therapy will perhaps be administered. This is not cruel or unusual punishment: This is how a regime sustains unequivocal control of its acquisition. Many true activits are released back into society, but only when they no longer pose a threat - only when they are no longer ripe with rebellion. Our fellow dissident from Santiago will be too fresh for a releasement. And let us not be parochial, for many, and I mean many, outspoken activists of the regime are not who they appear to be. They are ordered by the government secret agency to lambast the regime before droves of tourists, to manifest a false depiction of free speech and basic civil rights, to deny the claims of government corruption. Our friend from Santiago was not ordered to speak.

El Odio

Anonymous said...

The U.S. Interest Section just held a soiree with numerous Cuban intellectuals and artists. No dissidents were invited. Hillary's striped pants brigade then had the chutzpa to claim that this omission was a mere coincidence and that they did not intend to exclude anyone who defends human rights.

Leftside, Johnny Boy McAuliff, AC and I think this is an exciting development. AT LAST, the U.S. is joining with the Revolutionary Authorities in dismissing those so-called "dissidents" as the Orwellian non-persons and escoria that they really are.

We are moving on from the bad old days when the U.S. State Deparment (but not the sainted Wayne Smith, or course) had the effrontery to object when the Rapid Response Brigades beat to death, with chains and pipes, one of these non-persons on the steps of the U.S. embassy. Ah, progress! Isn't it wonderful, comrades?

Anonymous said...

My impression on the meeting with the dissidents was the same as Vecino's. I assumed that the Cuban government had given tacit approval for the US delegation to meet with dissidents.

Is it possible this permission was not given?

I would like to hear from anyone who thinks the US truly did this 'behind the back' of the Cuban gov.

Also, have to admit I've never heard the story of someone being beaten to death at the steps of the US Interests Section. Could someone fill me in on that too?

Anonymous said...

"have to admit I've never heard the story of someone being beaten to death at the steps of the US Interests Section. Could someone fill me in on that too?"

It is detailed (with a still photo included) in Wayne Smith's book on his days as Jimmy Carter's Commissar-en-Jefe of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana.

Of course, Wayne las long since forgotten such trivial details during his long effort to sanctify the maximum leader's Crusade for Humanity.

Anonymous said...

It is also interesting that there was an introduction party for the new US cultural attaches to which non-dissident cultural figures were invited. The ENH tries to play up the fact that the dissidents were not invited but it would be interesting to see the attendance list. That Cuban intellectuals and cultural figures attend a USINT social event is pretty newsworthy. It would be interesting if they were encouraged to attend by the Cuban government/PCC or were they left alone to make the decission. Either way this is a sign of a thaw. Anybody knows where the party was held? Cuban government is playing this one pretty cool. A good sign of maturity!

I am glad that Bruno Rodriguez produced a wish list. Something that I have been asking for awhile now. Time to think how to price the wish list. Nothing in it appears to be unattainable but everything should have a price.

This should be strictly business not personal...

Vecino de NF

Anonymous said...

Details of the meeting without governmenet opponents can be found here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/mundo/america_latina/2009/09/090930_0338_cuba_eeuu_festejos_sin_disidentes_jrg.shtml

Vecino de NF