World

US, Cuba Address Obstacles to Resuming Diplomatic Ties

Members of a U.S. delegation, right, and Cuban delegates, left, sit across from each other as they begin negotiations, in Havana, Cuba, Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015. The highest-level U.S. delegation to Cuba in decades kicked off two days of negotiations Wednesday after grand promises by President Barack Obama about change on the island and a somber warning from Cuba to abandon hopes of reforming the communist government. (AP Photo/Desmond Boylan)
Members of a U.S. delegation, right, and Cuban delegates, left, sit across from each other as they begin negotiations, in Havana, Cuba, Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015. The highest-level U.S. delegation to Cuba in decades kicked off two days of negotiations Wednesday after grand promises by President Barack Obama about change on the island and a somber warning from Cuba to abandon hopes of reforming the communist government. (AP Photo/Desmond Boylan)

BRADLEY KLAPPER, Associated Press
MICHAEL WEISSENSTEIN, Associated Press

HAVANA (AP) — The United States and Cuba are trying to eliminate obstacles to normalized ties as the highest-level U.S. delegation to the communist island in more than three decades holds a second day of talks with Cuban officials.

U.S. objectives during Thursday’s session include the lifting of restrictions on American diplomats in Cuba and assurances that Cubans will have unfettered access to a future U.S. Embassy in Havana. The Americans say the resumption in full diplomatic relations depends on how quickly its requests are met. Cuba is demanding its removal from a U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism, which Washington says it is considering.

On Wednesday, the U.S. said it dispatched additional ships to the Florida Straits to halt Cuban rafters but rebuffed demands for broader changes to U.S. migration rules that grant virtually automatic legal residency to any Cuban who touches U.S. soil.

Cuba’s government blames the Cold War policy for luring tens of thousands of Cubans a year to make perilous journeys by land and sea to try to reach the United States. Still, many Cubans are worried the elimination of the rules would take away their chance to have a better life in the U.S.

In Washington, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said America’s “wet foot, dry foot” approach, which generally shields Cubans from deportation if they reach U.S. territory, remains in effect. But he stressed that those trying to come illegally would most likely be interdicted and returned.

U.S. officials reported a spike in the number of rafters attempting to reach Florida after the Dec. 17 announcement that the countries would move to normalize ties. Those numbers appear to have slowed in recent days.

“Cuba wants a normal relationship with the U.S., in the broadest sense but also in the area of migration,” said Cuba’s head of North American affairs, Josefina Vidal. She called for the U.S. to end “exceptional treatment that no other citizens in the world receive, causing an irregular situation in the flow of migrants.”

American officials instead pressed Cuba to take back tens of thousands of its nationals whom U.S. authorities want to deport because they have been convicted of crimes. No progress was made on that issue, according to an official present in the meeting. The official wasn’t authorized to speak on the matter and demanded anonymity.

The talks Thursday are expected to focus on the broader question of how the U.S. and Cuba can end a half-century of enmity — as promised by Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro last month. The nations hope to re-establish embassies and post ambassadors to each other’s capitals in the coming months.

After meeting with the Cubans for more than three hours, the State Department’s Alex Lee said the “discussions prove that despite clear differences that remain between our countries, the United States and Cuba can find opportunities to advance our mutual, shared interests as well as engage in respectful and thoughtful dialogue.”

Lee led the U.S. delegation ahead of Wednesday afternoon’s arrival of Roberta Jacobson, the top American diplomat for Latin America and most senior U.S. official to visit Cuba since 1980.

Lt. Cmdr. Gabe Somma, spokesman for the Coast Guard’s 7th District in Miami, said “aggressively” stepped-up patrols have eased the increase in rafters seen immediately after the twin announcements last month by Castro and Obama.

“We have seen a slowdown in the last two weeks,” he said.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Tags
Show More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Washington Informer Newspaper, 3117 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE, Washington, DC, 20032, http://www.washingtoninformer.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Back to top button

My News Matters to me - Washington Informer Donations

Be a Part of The Washington Informer Legacy

A donation of your choice empowers our journalists to continue the work to better inform, educate and empower you through technology and resources that you use.

Click Here Today to Support Black Press and be a part of the Legacy!

Subscribe today for free and be the first to have news and information delivered directly to your inbox.


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Washington Informer Newspaper, 3117 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE, Washington, DC, 20032, http://www.washingtoninformer.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact
Close

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker