A top Cuban official called on U.S. diplomats to respect Cuban sovereignty.
If the United States wants free movement for its diplomats in Cuba then U.S. diplomats must respect Cuba’s political sovereignty, Cuba’s lead negotiator in talks with the U.S. stated Monday.
“Our diplomats in Washington conduct themselves impeccably and they would never engage in any kind of action that could be interpreted by the U.S. government as meddling in their affairs,” said Josefina Vida, who also serves as head of Cuba’s Foreign Ministry’s North American affairs division.
“So we are simply requesting for reciprocal conduct in our country and in our conversations,” Vida added.
The two countries are in the process of negotiating the restoration of diplomatic relations. Officials from both sides convened in Havana in January, and a second round of talks is expected to be held in Washington this month.
“Matters of the internal affairs in Cuba are not negotiable,” Vidal said. “Nor are we going to negotiate matters of an internal nature regarding Cuban sovereignty in exchange for lifting the embargo. Beyond that, everything else is a process of negotiation.”
Vida’s comments coincide with the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s meeting in which officials will discuss the Washington’s new relationship with Havana. Among those testifying at the hearing is Roberta Jacobson, the Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, who led a U.S. delegation to Cuba last month.
“Our public diplomacy officers work in partnership with a range of journalists, including those from civil society, and provide hundreds of Cubans each week with uncensored internet access through our three Information Resource Centers,” Jacobson told the Senate Committee. “These efforts will continue and expand once we establish diplomatic relations with Cuba.”
In 2009 Cuban authorities arrested and sentence U.S. official Alan Gross, who was financed by USAID to establish an illegal internet service in the island nation aimed at destabilizing the country.