Raul Castro and Obama Talk by Phone Before the Pope’s Visit

Raul Castro and Barack Obama when they met at the Americas Summit in Panama last April.
Raul Castro and Barack Obama when they met at the Americas Summit in Panama last April.

HAVANA TIMES — Cuban President Raul Castro spoke on Thursday afternoon by telephone with his US counterpart, Barack Obama, just hours before Pope Francisco starts a historic visit to the island, reported dpa news.

The Cuban Foreign Ministry reports that the leaders discussed the journey of Francis, who arrives in Cuba on Saturday and departs for the United States next Tuesday. Little was revealed of the specific content of their conversation.

This phone chat is the first conversation between Obama and Castro since the two presidents met for the first time in April in Panama. The governments of Washington and the United States resumed diplomatic relations on July 20, 2015, after 54 years of rupture.

Obama and Castro “exchanged views on the steps taken since their meeting held in Panama in the framework of the Summit of the Americas,” noted the Cuban Foreign Ministry.

“They also discussed the forthcoming visit of His Holiness Pope Francisco to Cuba and the United States, recognizing his contribution to the beginning of a new stage in relations between the two countries,” adds the text.

Francisco’s visit to both countries generates great political expectations, as the pope is considered a key mediator in the historic bilateral approach.

Both Obama and Castro explicitly thanked the Argentine pontiff when they made their surprise announcements on December 17, 2014, of the resuming of relations.

Francisco, the third pope to visit Cuba since 1998, arrives on Saturday for a four-day visit to the island. Today, a few hours before he left the Vatican, the United States announced new measures to relax portions of the economic and trade embargo imposed on the Caribbean country since the 60s.

 

4 thoughts on “Raul Castro and Obama Talk by Phone Before the Pope’s Visit

  • Freedom for the people of Cuba.

  • Terry, the Castros are riding out the clock. If they were genuinely interested in building an economic base to sustain the basic socialist character of Cuba, they would be doing far more to attract hard capital from investors. But to do so would strain the already weakened ideological hold they have in Cuba. It is more important to them to remain in control than it is to strengthen the economy. The only alternative they are willing to accept are the baby steps they are taking. Doing so however assures future shortages, blackouts, and collapsing buildings.

  • Carlyle, what’s your alternative?

  • Raul Castro Ruz is full of street smarts. He is demonstrating his wonderfully manipulative skills. Barack Obama senses that doing a deal with Cuba would add to his political legacy and Raul has sensed that.
    As a dedicated communist and as reflected in his addresses to the Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba this year, Raul will adhere to communist ideals. They do not include improvement in the living standards of the people of Cuba as clarified by Marino Murillo in his presentation of the “new” economic policies at the January 2015 Congress which had been previously approved by Raul.
    Much of the current action is but a charade, but appears to be suckering a lot of people – some, perhaps including Obama because it suits their own purposes and others through innocence regarding the history of the tissue of lies used by the Castros initially in pursuit of power and later to insure that achieved power from any form of challenge.
    Consequently Raul has every reason for being smug.

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