Castro Gets Full Support from Cuban Parliament for New Approach with USA

The Cuban parliament unanimously backed the steps taken by Raul Castro to change his country’s relationship with the USA: Foto: Calixto N. Llanes /

HAVANA TIMES – The Cuban Parliament unanimously endorsed the historic step taken by President Raul Castro to resume diplomatic relations with the United States, reported dpa on Friday.

Castro addressed the 600 members of the one chamber parliament in its last session of the year. He explained the decision to reach agreement with the old ideological enemy, announced Wednesday, after secret negotiations over the last 18 months.

Castro, 83, also gave details about the return to the island of three spies from the group called the “Cuban Five”, released as part of the agreement with the United States.

The three agents were part of a Cuban espionage network in Miami discovered in 1998. The remaining two had returned earlier to the island after serving out their sentences.

In return, the island freed Alan Gross, a USAID subcontractor jailed in Cuba since 2009 and US spy, Rolando Sarraff Trujillo, imprisoned in Cuba for nearly 20 years.

The Cuban government and media has especially celebrated the return of the three agents of the Cuban Five, the subject of an intense international and national campaigns for years.

Castro and Obama spoke by telephone on Tuesday for the first time. They even exchanged a few jokes, Obama revealed during a press conference in Washington. No heads of state of the two countries had had direct contact for decades.

The United States broke off diplomatic relations with Cuba in 1961, two years after the triumph of the Cuban revolution. Then, since 1962, Washington imposed an economic and commercial embargo on the island, citing the expropriation of US companies in Cuba after the arrival of Fidel Castro to power.

Although Obama announced Wednesday a relaxing of several trade and travel restrictions to the island for US citizens, the embargo can only be lifted by the US Congress.

12 thoughts on “Castro Gets Full Support from Cuban Parliament for New Approach with USA

  • What changes in Cuba are in the works? Enlighten me…..

  • You are definitely. Because Raul Castro considers abandoning one-party rule a betrayal of Jose Marti’s concept of political unity, it’s clear that neither isolation nor engagement have worked. But even if the eased flow of dollars from US citizens and companies puts some money into the Cuban government’s coffers, other money could flow into self-employed cuentapropista businesses.

  • Unlike the Castro apologist at HT, Moses actually acknowleges reality. You should try it sometime.

  • Please be specific about what changes are in the works. Raul Castro has ruled out any political changes. The Commmunist Party will maintain its exclusive monopoly of political power. Political arrests continue to rise, over 8000 so far this year.

    So what is changingi in Cuba? Seriously, I want to know if you can name anything?

  • What does your statement have to do with the comment Moses made? …The Cuban parliament is a rubber stamp committee. That’s a fact and even the publisher/ editor Circles agrees on

  • Broken record? That’s coming from a pro-Castro armchair Bolshevik? You guys are the masters of repeating the same BS. But if positivity is what you prefer, how’s this? I am hopeful and feel very optimistic that this change in US policy will have a positive effect on bringing greater US and international media attention to the pro-democracy and dissident movement in Cuba.

  • There’s no reason to import 80 percent of foodstuffs. Embassy epitomizes full diplomatic relations, interests section is symbol of quasi-diplomatic relations.

  • Listening to you is like listening to a broken record. All you do is assert that THIS won’t happen…and THAT won’t happen. But the rest of us know that changes ARE in the works. You’re so full of negativity…you possess ZERO credibility with me because you just don’t know when to stop and cut your losses. And frankly, you’re simply an enormous bore now. You really need to get a life.

  • Perhaps Moses doesn’t want to hear it. I doubt he has heard the term ‘move on’.

  • On the contrary, once we have gotten past the current euphoria of establishing diplomatic relations, like-minded anti-Castro thinkers like myself will be further emboldened to point out the fatal flaws in the Castro dictatorship without bearing the weight of not having formal relations with Cuba. Before you get your panties in a bind, keep in mind what really has changed. The US Interests Section Office is the largest diplomatic mission in Cuba today. The formality of an ambassador will change very little in terms of activity. However, it will allow our ambassador to speak out against human rights abuses in a new way. The world press is paying closer attention to what goes on in Cuba. Who will this affect most? Will the Castros be allowed to arrest and beat the Ladies in White with the same international press impunity? At the same time, will this action improve agricultural outputs? Of course not. The Castros will still need to import 80% of the foods that Cubans consume. Will our embassy help restore the rotted physical infrastructure? Not in the least bit. Buildings will continue to fall down after the rain. As long as the embargo remains in place, the much needed capital and unfettered US tourism will remain far off. Obama has pulled a fast one. He has gotten a lot of positive mileage from these actions, but after the dust settles, toilet paper will still be hard to come by in Havana.

  • Face it, Moses, your credibility for commenting on anything about Cuba is now laughable. You’re a mere relic of the cold-war. We’re all done with that now, or haven’t you heard?

  • Anyone who knows anything about Cubans should LOL when they read that 600 Cubans voted unanimously on anything, and especially something as gravely important as this. Visitors to the “hot corner” in Parque Central learn quickly that 20 Cubans will have 25 opinions on just about every topic (especially baseball). This puppet Parliament has NEVER disagreed with anything the Castros have done. How is this possible except in a dictatorship? Not mentioned in this post is the release of the 54 political prisoners. Why is that?

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