Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Raul Castro: Cuba and US to Re-Establish Diplomatic Relations

Cuban President Raul Castro announces the reset of Cuba-U.S. relations
Photo: teleSUR

On his special address, the Cuban head of state Raul Castro said relations between governments will be relaunched.

Cuban President Raul Castro gave a speech Wednesday to say that relations between both governments will be reset.

“We have agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations, but this does not mean that the main issue has been resolved, the blockade that generates economic losses and humanitarian problems in our country must stop,” he said.

In his speech he said, “Cubans have courageously shown that, despite the adversities, the Cuban people is committed to the Revolution,” he said.

“We should take mutual steps to advance towards the normalization of the relationship between both countries” he said.

He called on President Obama to lift the half-century blockade saying, “The President could modify its implementation (of the blockade) by using his executive powers,”  and in a sign of the improved relations added, “We will continue discussing these issues in the future.”

​Negotiations between Cuba and the United States began 18 months ago, with the encouragement of Pope Francis. The secret talks were hosted in Canada, and a final meeting took place in the Vatican.
During the negotiations, both U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro spoke over the phone and agreed to restart relations between both countries.

Earlier on Wednesday, Cuba released US spy Alan Gross and the United States freed the Cuban Five, held in US prisons since 1998.

Cuba arrested Gross, now 65, on Dec. 3, 2009, and later convicted the USAID subcontractor to 15 years in prison for trying to establish clandestine internet service. Gross was subcontracted by private firm Development Alternatives, Inc., which was subcontracted by USAID to provide "humanitarian assistance.”

USAID has long tried to infiltrate Cuba via various programs in order to affect soft change on the island. The United States has spent US$264 million over the last 18 years, in successive efforts to oust the Cuban government.

The U.S. more overt economic blockade on Cuba, harshly criticized by the international community for many years, has been in situ since the early days of the Cold War, when U.S. anti-communist hysteria was at its peak.

There has been growing pressure from within the United States to end the blockade. Ahead of the speech, both Republican Senator Marco Rubio and Democrat Senator Richard Durbin both announced, through separate statements, that both countries could normalize trade relations.

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