Cuba-US Relations: Diplomatic Ties Emerge, Mired In Suspicion

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Feelings of anticipation and a sense of foreboding are both attending Cuba and the United States’s progress on plans to re-establish full diplomatic relations. The negotiations, which started in mid-2013, were announced publicly on Dec. 17, 2014, when the three remaining “Cuban 5” were released in exchange for USAID subcontractor Alan Gross and a still unidentified U.S. spy.

The official re-establishment of relations is slated for Monday, according to an exchange of letters between Cuban President Raul Castro and U.S. President Barack Obama.

Speaking from the White House earlier this month, Obama said: “The progress that we mark today is yet another demonstration that we don’t have to be imprisoned by the past. When something isn’t working, we can — and will — change.”

Meanwhile, in his letter to Obama, Raul wrote: “Cuba is encouraged by the reciprocal intention to develop respectful and cooperative relations between our two peoples and governments.”

A statement issued by the Revolutionary Government of Cuba on July 8 insists that diplomatic relations with the U.S. will be realized through the reaffirmation of “each and every one of the principles for which our people have shed their blood and run every risk under the leadership of the historical Leader of the Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz.”

In addition to the U.S. returning the Guantanamo Bay naval base to Cuba and ending the blockade, the normalization of relations, according to the statement, will also depend upon Obama’s willingness to end subversive and destabilization programs, as well as compensate the Cuban population “for all the human and economic damages caused by United States policies.” (more…)