Cuba-US Resume Talks Monday in Havana

Robert Jacobson arrives Sunday in Havana.

HAVANA TIMES — The delegations of Cuba and the United States will meet on Monday in Havana for a new round of negotiations following the diplomatic thaw last December, announced the US State Department today, reported dpa.

Roberta Jacobson, assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, will travel on Sunday to Havana, where she is scheduled to meet with Josefina Vidal, director of United States Affairs at the Cuban Foreign Ministry, who will head the Cuban delegation.

The top US official for Latin American will travel to the island on Sunday, but “talks begin on Monday,” said a senior State Department official who requested anonymity.

The source explained that they did not yet know how long this new round of negotiations will last, but said it is likely that Jacobson returns to the US “by midweek”.

This is the third round of negotiations, following a first contact between the two delegations held in January in Havana and a meeting in late February in Washington.

As happened in the second round of negotiations, the agenda of the meeting will focus on the restoration of bilateral relations broken off by the US in 1961 and the opening of embassies in Washington and Havana.

Josefina Vidal es la representante principal de Cuba en las negociaciones.

Washington has already expressed its desire to make it happen in time for the Summit of the Americas, to be held on April 10-11 in Panama and which is expected to involve President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro. However, there is still no date on when they would open embassies.

In the absence of direct diplomatic relations, “Interests Sections” in their respective capitals allows the two governments to fulfill consular services and continue the few bilateral relations that existed until the December agreement, for example, on migration. Their staff, however, operate under serious restrictions of action and movement in their respective territories.

The US wants to separate negotiations to reopen embassies from the process of reviewing the list of countries it accuses of sponsoring terrorism, compiled by the State Department and which has included Cuba since 1982.

Before the February meeting, Havana demanded being taken off the US “blacklist” as a prerequisite for the restoration of bilateral diplomatic relations.

The meeting in Washington served to soften the Cuban position. Vidal then explained that “is not a precondition” but that for Cuba being taken off the list is “a priority”.

Obama and Castro announced on December 17, 2014, their decision to resume bilateral relations after half a century of confrontation between the two countries.

9 thoughts on “Cuba-US Resume Talks Monday in Havana

  • There is over $ 3 billion in new tourist type construction going on in Cuba. The USA has missed the boat – nothing worse than being last in – Si !!!

  • I don’t watch Fox News so I will take your word for it. It happens to be true though. Even as a new consumer market, Cuba is of little financial import. 11 million poor Cubans won’t make any difference to US trade balances, although a handful of US businesses will likely profit handsomely. Cultural and scientific exchanges also have value but much more so for Cuba than for the US. While it may be politically correct to extol the virtues of Cuba’s Heberprot-P for Americans with diabetes as a benefit or normalizing relations with Cuba, the FACT is that Cubans will have cheaper access to a helluva lot more US drugs than Americans who will benefit from Cuban drugs. Again, what’s the rush?

  • The rush is on because Obama wants a deal to seal his legacy as the most progressive President ever. He doesn’t much care what’s in the deal so long as it’s signed before he leaves office.

    On the Cuban side, they know they won’t get a better deal than the one Obama is offering. They too want to sign the deal before President Rubio is inaugurated.

  • Marti, I think you know full well why this is happening. It is flexibility but the pieces and players are all following the script. Embassy opened in a less than a month? Check! Cuba off
    terrorist list in less than two months? Check! Here’s one though that I may be off by a few days but a major shift in power before end of 2015? We’ll see.

  • The oil rich nations have hit a rough spot with the spot price oil in the dumps. China is slowing and is making moves on acquiring territorial rights to islands in dispute. The Brazil economy is also in a slow down as welfare socialist policies choke off economic vitality.

    Cuba wants this deal, it is not the U.S. pushing it on them. It is a good time for Cuba to deal. The next U.S. President may not be as accommodating.

  • The ” RUSH ” iis on due the China , Brazil and the Oil Rich Kingdoms being in the game now and are expanding at ” Break Neck Speed !!! “

  • ……..then….you HAD to add that last line…..sounds like a FOX remark

  • What’s the rush? Obama has already received international applause simply for opening the door to normalizing relations. At this point, the US has the advantage in slow negotiations. The Castros have one foot in the grave and the Cuban economy continues to circle the drain. As Venezuela devolves into caos, the Venezuel oil teat is sure to dry up, further worsening the economic situation in Cuba. This can only serve to motivate the Castros to negotiate with more sincerity. The Castros have everything to gain at this point in quickly establishing a ‘normal’ relation with the US. The US gains another third world vacation option.

  • Remarkable flexibility being shown by each side to compartmentalize areas of griviences. A very good model for making progress. Settling a few items now will help latter. The ends will of course hate this approach as only capelulation is sufficient for the left & right Enders.

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