Category Archives: Cuba and US Relations

President Raúl Castro Ruz, received a delegation from the United States Congress

Raúl receives U.S. Congressional delegation
Affairs of interest to both countries were discussed during the meeting
Author: Granma | internet@granma.cu
february 21, 2018 08:02:13

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Photo: Estudio Revolución

Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, President of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers, yesterday afternoon received a delegation from the United States Congress, led by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont).
The group also included two other Democratic Senators, Ron Wyden from Oregon and Gary Peters from Michigan, and House Representatives James McGovern (D-Massachusetts) and Susan Davis (D-California).
Affairs of interest to both countries were discussed during the meeting.
Additionally present on the Cuban side were Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla and Carlos Fernández de Cossío, the ministry’s general director for the United States.

U.S. congressional delegation reaffirms need to improve relations with Cuba

U.S. congressional delegation reaffirms need to improve relations with Cuba
U.S. members of Congress expressed the need to continue the process, initiated by the Obama administration, toward the normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States, during a February 21 press conference at the U.S. Embassy in Havana
Author: Redacción Digital | internet@granma.cu
february 21, 2018 16:02:11

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Photo: Prensa Latina
U.S. members of Congress expressed the need to continue the process, initiated by the Obama administration, toward the normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States, during a February 21 press conference at the U.S. Embassy in Havana.
The group, led by Democrat Senator and Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman, Patrick Leahy, arrived in Cuba last weekend, here to review –together with local authorities – changes in Washington’s policy toward the island since President Donald Trump assumed office in January 2017.
During the press conference, Leahy mentioned the meeting that he and his colleagues held yesterday with Cuban President, Raúl Castro, describing the encounter as extremely frank and pleasant, during which Cuba’s desire to continue improving bilateral relations, despite current circumstances was expressed.
The Senator for Vermont criticized the new direction taken by the Trump administration with regard to Cuba policy, and in particular measures related to the withdraw of diplomatic personnel from the U.S. Embassy in Havana and the expulsion of members of Cuba’s diplomatic corps from its headquarters in Washington.
This is a grave error which harms the interests of both governments and peoples and above all those who need to visit either country for family or business purposes, as well as so many other things that were frozen under the pretext of the health incidents reported by U.S diplomatic staff in the Cuban capital, noted Leahy.
Regarding this issue, the U.S. Senator highlighted the Cuban government’s cooperation in resolving the case and stated that he believes the island’s authorities do not have the slightest intention to harm U.S. citizens who visit Havana.
What is more he noted that not a single one of his colleagues had any fears about travelling to Cuba as they believe the island to be a safe place, and have even travelled here with their spouses, and in Leahy’s case, with his 13 year old granddaughter.
The group, which will return to the U.S. today, February 21, also includes senators Ron Wyden from Oregon and Gary Peters from Michigan, as well as House Representatives James McGovern (D-Massachusetts), Kathy Castor (D-Florida) who was not present during the press conference, and Susan Davis (D-California).
For his part McGovern criticized recent steps by the Trump administration to reduce the number of staff at the U.S and Cuban embassies as well as other changes by the White House which have had negative implications for bilateral relations, as they affect travel by Cuban and U.S. citizens to both countries.
On Monday, February 20, the Congressional delegation held a meeting with Director General for the United States at the Cuban Foreign Ministry, Carlos Fernández de Cossio, who thanked them for their efforts to improve relations.
The Cuban official also reiterated that no evidence of the alleged sonic attacks against U.S. diplomatic personnel in Havana exists, as sectors intent on preventing any advance in the normalization of relations between the two countries, are claiming.

Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs issues statement addressing allegations by the U.S.

Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs issues statement addressing allegations by the U.S.
Cuba has never, nor would it ever, allow that the Cuban territory be used for any action against accredited diplomatic agents or their families, without exception

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Author: MINREX | internet@granma.cu
august 10, 2017 09:08:38

On 17 February this year, the United States Embassy in Havana and the Department of State informed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the occurrence of some alleged incidents affecting some officials of that diplomatic mission and their families.
Cuba took this issue with the utmost seriousness and acted expeditiously and professionally in order to clarify the facts of this situation, initiating a comprehensive, priority and urgent investigation on the indications of the highest level of the Cuban government. To this end, it conveyed to the United States Embassy the need for information-sharing and proposed to establish cooperation between the competent authorities of both countries.
The Cuban authorities set up an inter-institutional expert committee for the analysis of the facts; expanded and reinforced the protection and security measures of the mission, its staff and diplomatic residences; and new channels were made available for direct communication between the Embassy and the Department of Diplomatic Security.
In this context, on 23 May, the Department of Sate informed the Cuban Embassy in Washington of the decision that two Cuban diplomats leave the United States territory. This led to a protest by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs due to this unjustified and unsubstantiated decision.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reaffirms that Cuba complies rigorously and seriously with all its obligations arising from the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations in connection with the protection and inviolability of diplomatic agents and the premises of diplomatic missions.
Our country’s impeccable track record in this area is recognized internationally and Cuba is universally considered as a safe destination for both visitors and foreign diplomats, including Americans.
The Ministry categorically emphasizes that Cuba has never, nor would it ever, allow that the Cuban territory be used for any action against accredited diplomatic agents or their families, without exception. Moreover, it reiterates its willingness to cooperate in the clarification of this situation.
Havana, 9 August 2017.

President Obama issues directive consolidating changes to Cuba policy

On Friday, October 14, U.S. President Barack Obama, issued a presidential policy directive aimed at consolidating changes adopted with regard to Cuba, and making the new policy toward the island irreversible

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Author: Barack Obama | internet@granma.cu
october 14, 2016 10:10:30

On Friday, October 14, U.S.  President Barack Obama issued a presidential policy directive aimed at consolidating changes adopted with regard to Cuba, and making the new policy toward the island irreversible, reports Prensa Latina.
According to the document “Under the new policy, the United States expands and promotes authorized engagements with Cuba to advance cooperation on areas of mutual interest, and increase travel to, commerce with, and the free flow of information to Cuba,” although the over 50-year economic, financial and commercial blockade remains in force.
The text disseminated by the White House notes that “Since the United States announced on December 17, 2014, that it would chart a new course with Cuba, we have re-established diplomatic relations and have made progress toward the normalization of our bilateral relationship,” including the opening of embassies, among other actions.
“This new directive consolidates and builds upon the changes we’ve already made, promotes transparency by being clear about our policy and intentions, and encourages further engagement between our countries and our people,” reads a statement issued the same day by President Obama, regarding the new policy directive.
The cited document continues, “Consistent with this approach, the Departments of Treasury and Commerce issued further regulatory changes today, building on the progress made over the last two years, to continue to facilitate more interaction between the Cuban and American people, including through travel and commercial opportunities.”
According to the U.S. President “These changes are representative of the progress I saw firsthand when I visited Havana,” last March. The new measures announced by the U.S. Departments of Treasury and Commerce, which are set to enter into effect on Monday, October 17, include new avenues for joint cooperation projects in the fields of scientific research, and U.S. imports of Cuban manufactured pharmaceutical products.
Meanwhile, U.S. citizens permitted to travel to the island under the 12 authorized categories will be able to import, for their personal use, unlimited quantities of Cuban rum and cigars in their luggage.
The U.S. agriculture sector will be able to export items such as pesticides or tractors to Cuba; transactions which will no longer require the island to pay in advance and in cash.
The restriction which prevented hundreds of foreign ships which had docked in Cuba from making port in the United States in order to load or unload for a period of 180 days, is also being lifted. The U.S. Department of the Treasury also announced that scholarships for scientific research and religious activities will be made available.
Full text of Presidential Policy Directive available here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/10/14/presidential-policy-directive-united-states-cuba-normalization Full text of President Barack Obama’s statement regarding the Presidential Policy Directive on Cuba available here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/10/14/statement-president-presidential

Statement by the Revolutionary Government With the reestablishment of diplomatic ties with the United States,

Statement by the Revolutionary Government
With the reestablishment of diplomatic ties with the United States, the lifting of the blockade, among other issues, will be essential to the ultimate normalization of relations

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Author: Granma | internet@granma.cu
july 1, 2015 12:07:23

ON July 1, 2015, the President of the Councils of State and Ministers of the Republic of Cuba, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, and the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, exchanged letters through which they confirmed the decision to reestablish diplomatic relations between the two countries and open permanent diplomatic missions in their respective capitals, from July 20, 2015.
That same day, the official opening ceremony of the Embassy of Cuba in Washington will be held, in the presence of a Cuban delegation led by Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla and composed of distinguished representatives of Cuban society.
By formalizing this step, Cuba and the United States ratified the intention to develop respectful and cooperative relations between both peoples and governments, based on the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and International Law, in particular the Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic and Consular Relations.
The Government of Cuba has decided to reestablish diplomatic relations with the United States in full exercise of its sovereignty, invariably committed to the ideals of independence and social justice, and in solidarity with the just causes of the world, and reaffirming each of the principles for which our people have shed their blood and ran all risks, led by the historic leader of the Revolution Fidel Castro Ruz.
With the reestablishment of diplomatic relations and the opening of embassies, the first phase concludes of what will be a long and complex process towards the normalization of bilateral ties, as part of which a set of issues will have to be resolved arising from past policies, still in force, which affect the Cuban people and nation.
There can be no normal relations between Cuba and the United States as long as the economic, commercial and financial blockade that continues to be rigorously applied, causing damages and scarcities for the Cuban people, is maintained, it is the main obstacle to the development of our economy, constitutes a violation of International Law and affects the interests of all countries, including those of the United States.
To achieve normalization it will also be indispensable that the territory illegally occupied by the Guantanamo Naval Base is returned, that radio and television transmissions to Cuba that are in violation of international norms and harmful to our sovereignty cease, that programs aimed at promoting subversion and internal destabilization are eliminated, and that the Cuban people are compensated for the human and economic damages caused by the policies of the United States.
In recalling the outstanding issues to be resolved between the two countries, the Cuban Government recognizes the decisions adopted thus far by President Obama, to exclude Cuba from the list of state sponsors of international terrorism, to urge the U.S. Congress to lift the blockade and to begin to take steps to modify the application of aspects of this policy in exercise of his executive powers.
As part of the process towards the normalization of relations, in turn, the foundations of ties that have not existed between our countries in all their history will need to be constructed, in particular, since the military intervention of the United States 117 years ago, in the independence war that Cuba fought for nearly three decades against Spanish colonialism.
These relations must be founded on absolute respect for our independence and sovereignty; the inalienable right of every State to choose its political, economic, social and cultural system, without interference in any form; and sovereign equality and reciprocity, which constitute inalienable principles of International Law.
The Government of Cuba reiterates its willingness to maintain a respectful dialogue with the Government of the United States and develop relations of civilized coexistence, based on respect for the differences between the two governments and cooperation on issues of mutual benefit.
Cuba will continue immersed in the process of updating its economic and social model, to build a prosperous and sustainable socialism, advance the development of the country and consolidate the achievements of the Revolution.
Havana, July 1, 2015