Sunday, May 31, 2009

Migration talks could signal real opening with Cuba

Word from Washington that Cuba had agreed to reopen talks on allowing migration from the island and on mail delivery could be a sign that relations between the two countries are indeed warming and that diplomatic relations could be eventually in the offing. Cuba sent a note to U.S. officials on Saturday agreeing to resume migration talks suspended by U.S. President George W. Bush in 2004, according to the Reuters international news agency. A second note offered talks on direct mail service. "The two notes are a very positive step forward," the U.S. official said, according to Reuters. "Our goal has always been safe, orderly migration out of Cuba. It's in our interest to resume these talks." The two countries have not had formal diplomatic relations since 1960, when Cuba's new leftist leader, Fidel Castro, who overthrew the island's U.S.-backed leader, nationalized businesses owned by U.S. companies. The official said the Cubans also indicated an interest in holding talks on counter-narcotics, counter-terrorism and hurricane disaster responses. The notes apparently were timed to coincied with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's three-day trip to Latin America, where the Organization of American States is expected to readmit Cuba. Cuba's membership was suspended in 1962 after Castro began to implement Communist reforms and aligned Cuba with the Soviet Union, Reuters said.

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