Cuba Hopes the Next US President Supports Improved Relations

Josefina Vidal. Photo: Ismael Francisco/cubadebate.cu
Josefina Vidal. Photo: Ismael Francisco/cubadebate.cu

HAVANA TIMES – The Cuban government hopes that the next president of the United States maintains the policy of rapprochement between the two countries, said Cuba’s top negotiator Josefina Vidal on Monday, reported dpa.

There are many sectors in the US that have “a great interest in the relations with Cuba,” said Vidal at the end of a new round of talks between representatives of the two governments held in Havana.

“One would think that whoever is the next president of the United States, will take public opinion into account,” she added.

Vidal referred to the business sector and “a good part of the political circles” in the US as supporters of improved relations with Cuba, as well as many non-governmental organizations and the majority of Cuban immigrants in the country.

Vidal, director of US affairs at the Foreign Ministry, was responsible on the Cuban side for negotiating the resumption of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

According to a survey by the US opinion polling firm Gallup, a majority of US citizens now look favorably on the current policy approach to Cuba by the government of Barack Obama. This is the first time in decades that a majority of Americans sees the island in a positive light, said Gallup in February.

The surprise thaw announced by the Obama Administration and the government of Raul Castro in December 2014 meant a shift in decades in convulsive relations between the two countries.

The US and Cuba then resumed diplomatic relations in July 2015, after 54 years of hostilities.

Both countries have since taken several steps to normalize their relationship. Delegations of the two countries met today in Havana to celebrate the third meeting of a bilateral commission created after the reopening of embassies.

This was a “productive meeting” as both sides noted the progress made in recent months, said Vidal. The delegations discussed the increase of official visits between the two countries in recent months, including Obama to Cuba in March, and considered trips in the future, added the diplomat.

The Cuban delegation also reiterated its demand for the lifting of the economic embargo Washington imposed on the island since the early 1960s, as a condition for full normalization of diplomatic relations.

The US will elect the successor to Obama in November with Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton emerging as potential candidates of their parties for the presidency.

Among Republicans, traditionally supporters of a hardline policy with communist Cuba, Trump is of those who did not oppose the new US policy toward the island. Clinton, who was Secretary of State for Obama in his first term supports the restored relations.


11 thoughts on “Cuba Hopes the Next US President Supports Improved Relations

  • May 23, 2016 at 11:27 pm
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    I pray that you are correct John.
    Cubans employed within the tourism sector have had the opportunity for over twenty years to converse with people from other countries especially Canada from whence about 1.2 million visited Cuba in 2015 (45% of the total). I don’t think that there is a huge difference between talking to Canadians and talking to Americans. Cubans John are well aware that their lives are unnecessarily difficult. Fidel introduced the Stasi trained CDR with the purpose of the State spying upon their daily lives, they know that there is a better world out there and they long to have similar conditions for their own and their children’s future. But the grip of the Castro family regime has not relaxed and they retain total power and control.
    The Soviet Empire lasted seventy three years prior to rotting from within. The Castro regime has learned from that and in consequence is ensuring that the same will not occur in Cuba.

  • May 20, 2016 at 2:27 am
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    Sadly, Cuba has suffered through too many dictatorships. I understand all that you say. Perhaps I am a bit more optimistic than you. Harsh dictatorshops have fallen before and it will happen again. At some point, people, regular citizens, discover their lives are unnecessarily difficult. They learn that other people in other countries have a higher standard of living with less sacrifice and labor. They find out their children have opportunities to fulfill to their true potential. Because Cubans are so physically close to the US, I believe that despite all the Castros’ efforts, Cubans identify with Americans (not the US government). Every day, their chances grow to meet and talk with Americans. Now, despite the Castros’ efforts, this is what Cubans want. I’m no expert. However, we saw how quickly the eastern European communist dictatorships fell and how fast the economies adjusted to capitalism. I hope my optimism foreshadows the future for Cuba. Whether I am right or wrong, it’s going to happen eventually. I just think the Cuban people have suffered enough. You know about that than I will ever know and I sincerely appreciate you sharing with me. I just want to live long enough to witness it. Thank you.

  • May 19, 2016 at 8:28 pm
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    For once? Sooth is all I say, which is what makes me such a lightening bolt for the wrath of the Castrophilic come-mierdas who frequent these pages.

    Yes, “Ouch” Moses, because it hits true. Of all your candidates on selection, you may not have liked Marco Rubio for his domestic policy, but you know he was right on Cuba.

  • May 19, 2016 at 9:32 am
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    Ouch!

  • May 18, 2016 at 5:36 pm
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    For once I believe a soothsayer! Where do I get to reserve my room at the Trump Palace – I guess it will be English speaking only?

  • May 18, 2016 at 5:30 pm
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    Welcome John, it is nice to read such an optimistic view about the future of Cuba. But upon which actions by the Castro regime do you base your optimism. They have just abandoned the use of the very word democracy. Their power and control is total. How do you think that the communist dictatorship will be removed?
    For the people of Cuba there has been no change.
    Have you examined by whom and how the economy is controlled. GAESA controls over 80% of the economy. GAESA has fifty seven subsidiary ‘companies’ and is controlled by Raul Castro’s son-in-law and GAESA is owned by the military.
    There are no private shops in Cuba they are all operated by one or other of the GAESA subsidiaries – yes, even when you have a coffee at El Rapido. In 2014 GAESA controlled 26.000 of the hotel rooms in Cuba and announced that by 2017 that would rise by a further 14,000.
    You optimistically think that the regime will end sooner rather than later, but sadly having my home in Cuba (from where I am unable to contribute to these pages) being married to a Cuban and thus related to over 60 Cubans – several being professionals I have to say that it will be later – and possibly much much later!
    Incidentally I detest dictators, but poor Cuba has suffered them ever since Batista formed his second government – his first was elected.

  • May 18, 2016 at 9:35 am
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    Clinton, guided by her innate corruption and instinct for self-enrichment, will do whatever pays the best. Which means, she will likely follow pretty much along Obama’s path, while cutting deals on the side. Bill will give a well paid speech at some trendy liberal conference to be held in Varadero.

    Trump will want to build a Trump hotel on the Malecon, & employ those dirt cheep Lateen Cuban workers. It will be the classiest, most luxurious hotel in Cuba, let me tell ya!!

    Sanders will drop any pretence of wanting to bring democracy & human rights to Cuba. He’ll appoint Noam Chomsky as his ambassador to Havana and hire Cuban medical teams to come work in the US.

  • May 18, 2016 at 5:03 am
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    I truly enjoy the articles I read here. Moreso, I enjoy the comments made by Mr. Patterson and others. Unfortunately, I am not impressed by those who feel that anyone who supports a relationship with the US is somehow “wrong” and deserves personal attacks. I am an American. I realize my country’s governments have made blunders, especially in Cuba. To me, the Cuban people are suffering. I honestly admire how they survive. I can see that Cuban women still remain stylish and lovely despite the lack of beauty products. Cuban men are as handsome as ever in their dress and appearance. No one can deny that Cubans favor American fashion, music, etc. Sooner, rather than later, this near sixty year old experiment will end and will be judged a failure. Cuba will move towards what Bernie Saunders calls a “socialist democracy”. Basically, in reality, that is what the US has now, excepting a national health care program. There is much to learn on both sides. However, it is obvious that the Cuban experiment has failed miserably. I’m not advocating a return to the days of Batista. Soon, Cuba will be able to form a government that will take the best of all worlds. Cubans will be able to live where they want to live and it will all be decent housing. There will be retail stores on many different levels selling the finest goods as well as less costly items. Cubans will have choices in every aspect of their lives. There is nothing inherently wrong with having upscale department stores like “El Encanto” to compete with “Walmart”. Cubans should not be forced to stand in line to buy low grade food items. Grocery stores will give them choices of what they want to buy for their families. Cuba has the capability to grow so much of its own food as well as having enough to export (to the US perhaps?) But why is it necessary for Cuba to have to import so much food (including apples and chickens and turkeys from Virginia)? I realize it is unpopular to say the following, but I do believe that property rights must be restored to those whose homes and business were taken by the Castro government. There is no reason an agreement that is satisfactory to all cannot be negotiated. If the Republicans lose their stranglehold on the US Senate, I tend to think the “embargo” will end quickly. A new Cuban government must be led by people who can recognize the problems of the past and not repeat them. The Cuban people will have the opportunity to select their leaders on every level. I believe they will not tolerate “crooks and robber barons”. They have seen what can happen. I have faith they will not allow it to happen again.
    I am writing here on a general, as opposed to a “specific” level. I am not speaking as an expert on anything. For those who feel they must respond negatively and even rudely to most anyone who takes their time to express themselves here, I ask that you not respond with personal attacks. Thank you.

  • May 17, 2016 at 7:08 pm
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    The time to make deal is now. Best they can hope on is status qou. Next President will need concessions to move further. Property claims settlement key to ending embargo. A package of tax credits and development rights will get it done.

  • May 17, 2016 at 5:03 pm
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    In cutting those deals, the Castro regime fortunately will have to be prepared to reciprocate. When they published and broadcast the supposed ‘Fidel’ letter – The Man Obama – followed by Bruno Rodriguez saying the following day that lifting the embargo had to be a unilateral action by the US with no reciprocation, the regime was undoubtedly speaking with the authority of Raul Castro.
    Over the last three years, the free world has been mislead into believing that ‘change’ is taking place in Cuba. That change has not been defined, but Raul’s clever political cosmetics raised hopes that it was occurring. To date, within the country there has been no change. It is correct that Cubans may buy and sell their homes and buy and sell cars. Many in their endeavors to raise the money to enable them to leave the country have endeavored to sell their homes, but there are few buyers. The cars are just a bad joke, for Cubans struggle to afford a bicycle let alone a car at maybe $80,000. It is also correct that those who in the past had succeeded in buying a home on the black market could legalize the transaction by paying 4% of the price to the regime. But there has been no change in incomes, no change in shortages, no change in the power and control being exerted over them and no relaxation of any of the laws and regulations which control their daily lives. One change that has occurred is the massive increase in the numbers of Cubans managing to flee – up from about 7,500 per year to over 43,000. The sad results for a group from Candaleria were recently reported in these pages.
    I think Moses that you are correct in your assessment. Clinton is a tough nut and Trump has to date illustrated that he is inward looking.

  • May 16, 2016 at 10:20 pm
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    Neither Trump nor Clinton will be as willing to drop their pants for the Castros. No matter what they do Obama will get most of the credit. If normalizing relations backfires, the next President will get the blame. The Castros better cut their deals while Obama is still President.

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