Havana Cuba Business Travel Culture and Politics

Havana Cuba News

Cuba Politics News

Posted December 05, 2009 by publisher in US Embargo

Email this article | Print this article | Search Havana Journal        

This AP article says the US Cuba migration talks scheduled for December were postponed to February but neither side is claiming responsibility for the delay. President Obama has made several steps to ease tensions and to lift travel restrictions on SOME Americans but not much has been heard from the Cuba side. Is anyone surprised? The Castro brothers do not want to change anything in Cuba and certainly do not want the Embargo lifted.

So… SSDD (Decade in this case unfortunately)


Highly anticipated immigration talks between Cuba and the United States have been pushed back because of scheduling concerns that each side blames on the other, another hint that reconciliation may be more difficult than it once appeared.

A U.S. State Department official told The Associated Press on Friday that both sides intend to continue holding periodic negotiations on immigration issues twice a year, but that bureaucratic concerns derailed talks that had been scheduled for early December in Havana.

“At the Cuban government’s request, the talks have been rescheduled for February,” he said.

A senior Cuban official confirmed that the negotiations had been delayed, but said it was at Washington’s bidding - not Cuba’s.

“We were ready to hold the talks in December,” he said.

Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the delay publicly.

They agreed that the postponement had nothing to do with politics, but it was another sign of fraying in what months ago seemed like a golden opportunity to end a half-century of discord.

“One does have the impression that things are rather stalled, and the postponement of these talks will add to that impression,” said Wayne Smith, a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy in Washington and the former head of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, which the U.S. maintains here instead of an embassy. “It’s very disappointing.”

He blamed officials in Washington for dragging their feet, saying President Barack Obama had taken baby steps and failed to show Havana he was serious about changing U.S. policy.

Last month, the State Department denounced an assault - allegedly by plainclothes state security agents - against Cuba’s top dissident blogger, Yoani Sanchez. Obama later sent a lengthy personal message to her, praising her for her work and answering a series of questions she had posed.

This week, prominent American black leaders denounced racism on the island - a particularly touchy subject in Cuba - prompting a blistering response from Cuban artists, writers and intellectuals who said their society is not racist.

Former Cuban President Fidel Castro has used recent essays on world events to lay into Obama for America’s policy in Honduras, which he says amounts to support of this summer’s military coup there, and in Colombia, where the U.S. recently signed an accord that will allow American soldiers increased access to seven of that country’s military bases.

Castro said the plan amounted to a military annexation of Colombia by Washington, saying that country was being “devoured by the empire with the same ease with which a lizard swallows a fly.”

Last week, Cuba conducted war games against a U.S. invasion, which Cuban military leaders insist is still a real possibility.

Regularly scheduled discussions between the U.S. and Cuba were limited to immigration issues from 1994 until they were cancelled under President George W. Bush in 2003. Both sides met to discuss the issue in New York in July and called that session positive.

In September, Cuba and the United States revived talks to restore direct mail service between both countries since Obama took office. Bisa Williams, the U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs who travelled to Havana for those discussions, stayed an extra six days and even met with Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister Dagoberto Rodriguez, raising hopes for a thaw in relations.

But those hopes have fizzled somewhat.

Cuban officials say they have made concrete proposals to the United States to hold talks on counter-narcotics, disaster preparedness and other issues - but have not heard back. Washington, in turn, says Cuba has done little to inspire confidence that it will allow social, political or economic changes - something the U.S. said is a prerequisite to moving forward.

“We are waiting to see what kind of opening they are going to give their own people,” a second, more senior State Department official told AP in a recent interview, also on condition of anonymity. “Their own people are asking for it. That would put more wind in our sails, so to speak, and help the dynamic moving forward.”

Find Cuba on Amazon

  1. Follow up post #1 added on December 07, 2009 by AlinaM with 1 total posts

    It is hard to believe that Cuba is still creating an atomosphere of fear by staging war games and making believe that they will be invaded by anything except their own demise due to inertia and incompetence.

  2. Follow up post #2 added on December 13, 2009 by Curt

    The policy of the U.S of not having diplomatic talks with Cuba unless it provides its citizens more freedoms will always stall negotiations between the 2 countries, Remember when Carter was president he warmed relations between the U.S and Cuba. As a result exiles were allowed to visit their families and conditions in Cuba were much better in the 1970’s then they are now. Its ridiculous that we have warm relations with Saudi Arabia and China who make Cuba look like Paradise Island. America, you must change your attitude towards Cuba or else we will always be the laughingstock of all the countries in the world!

  3. Follow up post #3 added on December 13, 2009 by Yeyo with 411 total posts

    I agree that China and Saudi Arabia are among the world’s worst violators of human rights. And I also agree that the current US policy towards Cuba is a complete failure. But to say that Cuba looks like an “Island paradise” compared to them, means simply that you do not know Cuba today.

    There is nothing of paradise in Cuba for the Cuban people. Yes, Cuba is a paradise but only for the foreign tourists that only visit the modern beach resorts without mixing with the local population.

  4. Follow up post #4 added on December 15, 2009 by manfredz with 464 total posts

    I think he meant that as a figure of speech rather than to be taken literally.
    Agree that there are probably some tourists that are hoodwinked into thinking Cuba is a paradise, but am sure the majority know it isn’t.
    I think Curt means (or at least hope he does), that a greater of percentage of Cubans enjoy more personal freedoms that the percentage of Saudis and Chinese do, so that it isnt freedom, or lack of it that drives the current US policy toward Cuba, whereas the US enjoys warm relations with both China and Saudi Arabia.  Don’t know how much of that is a “personal grudge” against Cuba or a fear that Saudi Arabia or China pull the plug and bankrupt the US if they pulled the same stuff on them that they do on Cuba.

  5. Follow up post #5 added on December 15, 2009 by Yeyo with 411 total posts

    I have been hearing those comments that there is more freedom in Cuba than in Saudi Arabia or China for long time now but I respectfully disagree.

    I cannot understand how somebody would believe that, maybe I’m simply not well verse on the matter but in my humble opinion, while I do not condone the violation of the human rights in any country, I believe that at least the Chinese enjoys way more freedoms that the Cubans. In the case of the Saudis they also have several liberties that are not afforded to the Cubans and there are also some liberties in Cuba not afforded by the Saudis, however many of the differences are traced back to religion and the fact that both countries are completely different from the cultural point of view.

    In the case of China, certainly their so called “Communist” government do not allow any signs of dissent but the Chinese people can open/operate businesses, sell and buy freely cars, houses, any kind of stuff, travel to any country, move wherever they want etc. They have access to the internet (I know that some sites are controlled) but still they can enjoy internet in their homes etc etc etc.

    None of that is permitted to the Cubans. In Cuba Castro solved the problem easily: Cubans are not allowed to have access to internet, to buy or sell cars, or houses. An autrageous example of the apartheid policy used by the Cuban government, the Cuban investment law says clearly: ...“anybody can invest in business in Cuba, EXEPT the Cubans”... In theory Cubans can open certain small regulated businesses, however the Cubans that have done that like renting part of their home (less than 2 rooms) or small restaurants (up to 12 chairs) are harassed daily by diabolic laws, regulations and government inspectors. So much that most of them have simply desisted after a year or so.
    The police stops people in the middle of the street and check their cars and if they find some new part for which they do not have the corresponding purchasing receipt they simply tow and impound the car without many questions. Cuba is the only country that I know that still ask for sort of an exit visa.
    Tourist from most Countries can travel freely there (no visa requested) but if you were born in Cuba, (even though they said that they do not allow the double citizenship) if you became citizen of another Country, they still (in violation of their own Cuban Constitution) request that you travel to Cuba with a Cuban Passport and an so called entry permit.
    There are thousands of Cubans that have requested authorization to travel elsewhere or to leave the country and have waited up to 10 years to get the authorization and in some cases they never got it. It is know now that Doctors are not permitted to emigrate anywhere. Some Doctors that left Cuba “illegally” (without government authorization) are simply not allowed to return to see their family.
    People that is allowed to visit family residing in other countries, they are never allow to travel with their children. Good way to secure that the parents would return to Cuba.
    I would leave it here because it would be to long to read.

  6. Follow up post #6 added on December 16, 2009 by manfredz with 464 total posts

    I respect your views, but lets just agree to disagree.
    When comparing apples and oranges, which we’re both trying to do here, it all depends on how one weighs factors, and includes or excludes factors to make their point.
    But your points are all valid to demonstrate that Cubans are not free in their own country and have a long way to go before they are.

  7. Follow up post #7 added on December 17, 2009 by Curt

    Manfredz, you hit the nail on the head.  I only meant “Paradise Island” as a figure of speech.  Thank you for clarifying my viewpoint.

  8. Follow up post #8 added on December 31, 2009 by pipefitter

    Another point of view on the disconnect between the U.S. and Cuba. http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=49846

Would you like to add more information?

Only members can add more information. Please register or log in

  • Advertise at Havana Journal Inc
Images of Cuba
H Upmann Habana cigars
Follow Havana Journal
SUBSCRIBE to our Cuba Watch newsletter
LIKE us on Facebook

FOLLOW us on Twitter

CONNECT with us on Linked In

Section Archive
Havana Journal, Inc. BBB Business Review

Member of the Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy