Cuba, US Bilateral Commission Hold Second Round of Talks

Screen shot 2015-11-12 at 6.21.29 AMThe latest round of negotiations are aimed at normalizing bilateral relations between Cuba and the United States.

Cuba and the United States held new talks Tuesday aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations.

The talks focused on evaluating progress already made, along with ways to continue moving towards normal relations, according to a statement from Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The negotiations took place within the framework of the joint Bilateral Commission in Havana.

The commission was created in August to facilitate talks on the normalization of ties between Cuba and the United States. The latest round of negotiations were the second meeting of the commission.

During the talks in Havana, Cuba pushed for the dismantlement of the U.S. blockade, arguing the decades-old embargo is the most significant barrier to normal relations.

U.S. President Barack Obama conceded in July that the blockade had failed. Since then, he has often hinted that it would soon be lifted.

Despite beginning a path to normalize bilateral dealings, including lifting some travel and trade bans to the island, however, the sanctions continue, as a change of policy would have to be passed by Congress.

Cuban President Raul Castro has reiterated that in order for full relations to be re-established, the United States must meet four conditions: abandon the Guantanamo Bay prison camp; end the blockade; end the “wet-foot-dry-foot” law encouraging Cubans to pursue residency in the U.S. by granting them citizenship if they touch U.S. soil; and end anti-government radio and television transmissions into the island.

Lifting of the half-century blockade would represent a historic moment for Cubans, 77 percent of whom were born under the harsh economic conditions resulting from its imposition in 1960.

teleSUR, November 10, 2015

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