http://havanajournal.com/politics/entry/raul-castro-invites-us-talks-and-foreign-investment-in-cuba-72607/

HavanaJournal.com: Cuba Politics

Raul Castro invites US talks and foreign investment in Cuba - July 26 2007

Posted July 26, 2007 by publisher in Cuba Politics.
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JAVIER GALEANO/AP

BY FRANCES ROBLES | Miami Herald

Thursday’s July 26 revolutionary party had all the markings of Cuba’s annual revolutionary celebration: the flags, the music, the chanting crowds.

But this year the roar of the masses recited a different name: ‘‘Ra-ul! Ra-ul!’’ Marking the end of an era and the start of new one, for the first time in 48 years—but for an enormous billboard—the comandante en jefe Fidel was nowhere to be found. In his place was his brother, Defense Minister and interim President Raul Castro, who stood before tens of thousands of people in the central city of Camaguey and offered to negotiate with whoever wins the 2008 U.S. elections.

‘I tell whoever the next group of leaders is: `If you are ready to talk in a civilized manner, we are prepared to do so,’ ‘’ Castro said. ``If not, we’re ready to confront your policy of hostility for another 50 years if necessary.’‘

READ THE REST OF THE STORY HERE

Member Comments

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On July 26, 2007, publisher wrote:

Once again Raul calls for talks with the US. He wants to talk with the “next group of leaders”, perhaps in reference to Obama’s comments about engaging with Cuba the other day.

Also, I found this to be interesting:

“Castro said there would be no magical solutions but called for an increase in foreign investments while not repeating the mistakes of the past.”

What does he mean by mistakes of the past. Hmmm, who was President of Cuba in charge of all decisions in the past? Is this some sort of criticism towards Fidel?

Overall, I have to say Raul did a good job based on this story from a journalist with a good reputation.

He only spoke for about one hour respecting his audience, talked about specific issues within the Cuban society and reached out to the US.

So, I am impressed with the respect Raul gives his people. On the other side, he could release some political prisoners and allow more freedoms to Cuban dissidents.

Hopefully he is looking to encourage foreign investment on FAIR terms, not just joint ventures that are really not free foreign investment.


He could allow more cuenta propistas or small business entrepreneurs to start a business in Cuba too.

I guess this was a good day for Cuba. Better than Fidel standing up there for five hours talking about nothing that really matters to the Cuban people.

At least Raul is focused on his country while Fidel sits in a room ranting about everything that is wrong with the world, completely removed from his people.

And that’s just how the Castro brother want it.

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On July 26, 2007, publisher wrote:

Unfortunately the Bush Administration did not waste any time expressing its traditional idiotic closed minded response.

AFP

“The only real dialog he needs is with the Cuban people,” State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said, after Raul Castro called for talks to end more than a half century of enmity between the neighboring nations.

and

“I think that if the Cuban people were able to express the opinion on the question of whether or not they would like to freely choose their leaders, the answer would probably be yes.

“Unfortunately, that is not the dialog that is taking place in Cuba at the moment. So we look forward to the day when the Cuban people do have the opportunity to have that free and open dialog. The dialog needs to happen in Cuba,” McCormack added.

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On July 26, 2007, J. Perez wrote:

Mr. McCormack is just another of the many mindless spokepersons for this administration, they are all irrelevant at this point and Raul knows it. What Raul needs to do is implement whatever reforms he has in mind without delay and wait until Mr. Bush & Co. are out of there.

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On July 26, 2007, publisher wrote:

Mr. McCormack is another “brick in the wall” and I would not say that he is irrelevant. Unfortunately the Bush Administration is very ignorant and pigheaded (and I say this as a Republican) that they have no Plan B for Cuba (or Iraq for that matter).

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On July 26, 2007, Cuban American wrote:

It seems like it has underlying meaning which could be leading Cuba in a more positive direction.  However, based on the history of the Castro’s and not just Fidel but Raul also, the term that comes to mind is “I’ll believe it when I see it”
These 2 have been lieing for nearly 50 years so they day one of them follows through with what they promise will be truely surprising.

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On July 26, 2007, publisher wrote:

Cuban American,

You are right. Oddly enough even I got caught up in Raul’s words but you are right, I’ll believe it when I see it.

Now that I see what you are saying I wonder how many Cubans will fall for this “new” thinking by Raul.

Word on the street is less freedoms not more so that too makes me say “I’ll believe it when I see it”.

Thanks for pointing that out.

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On July 26, 2007, Pete Chavez wrote:

Publisher,
In response to all the pats on the back you gave Raul for his quasi conciliatory speech;  When you compare the speech (just words I might suggest to you)  to the substance of his actions of the past 50 years along with that of that A__hole brother of his, I too will BELIEVE IT WHEN I SEE IT.  But I am comparing his speech to a long history of injustice and all out insanity.  I am not thinking that Fidel speaks for seven hours at a time and Raul speaks for only one, so therefore this must mean that he respects his people and this also means that change is in the air?  I’ll tell you something, speculations of change by the hand of the bruts that put Cuba where she is, is a waste of time.  What makes for interesting speculation of change in Cuba is to see where and in what hands of the population will change take place.  Will it be in the military, will come from the secret service, or is there a Judas in the inner circle.  Who knows it may even be in the hands of political prisoners and their movements.  And part of that “believing is seeing” mantra is that in this forthcoming prescription for change the removal of the Castro crime family from power is the most vital condiment for this recipe of change , also included,  you might want to throw in an inquest or two, simply just to look into prosecuting them for committing crimes against their own people, or heisting and looting the nations coffures and the list goes on.  Or maybe this is just as a good measure, just to at least prove a point about that these things happen in the real world outside Cuba and not in Cuba where the three stooges seem to live as Demigods. 
Sorry Publisher, Raulito’s one hour “call to prayer’  intended to imply:
(’‘oh aren’t I a nice recpectful leader for only rattling on for one hour instead of 7 hours like my mentally ill megalamaniac bro indulges himself in doing.  That does not reform make!  The Castro’s are only gonna get it.  And that is going to be way too late for them because they’ll only get it when or if they’ll ever be brought down and have some explaining to do.

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On July 27, 2007, publisher wrote:

Point taken. At least there is talk of change. If there is talk of change then people have some hope. If people have hope then they have expectations and maybe even some plans. If they have expectations and plans then they have desire for change. If they have desire for change then they are motivated and ready for change.

Once people reach this point of expectation and preparation perhaps then they will insist on change. There is no turning back at this point. They will demand change.

Maybe Raul’s speech yesterday was the match that light the Cuban people’s ultimate demand for change. Either Raul can try to manage it or he can get out of the way.

Sure it was just a speech but I think the “train has left the station” even if Raul is lying I think people now have the seed of hope for change planted in them.

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On July 28, 2007, publisher wrote:

Read Raul Castro’s entire speech from July 26 2007.

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On July 29, 2007, ED wrote:

Mmm…without getting too emotional about this, on the face of it this is good news, at least someone is making a first move. It’s great news for the people of Cuba, who in their right mind would want to negotiate with Mr Bush?...wait until that prat has left office then things will really start to change, for the better.

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On July 29, 2007, ED wrote:

Sorry Mr Bush, I didn’t mean to call you a Prat but you you know what I mean.