Cuba's foreign minister reiterates the island's desire for dialogue with
BY NORA GÁMEZ TORRES
In another apparent attempt to get a high-profile message to Washington,
Cuba's Minister of Foreign Affairs during a swing through Europe
repeated the island's desire to maintain the level of dialogue and
cooperation that started under former President Barack Obama.
"The current government of the United States has said it is reviewing
its policy towards Cuba. We reiterate our readiness for dialogue and
cooperation on the basis of the absolute respect for our sovereignty,"
Bruno Rodríguez told Spain's RTVE in an interview televised Saturday.
Cuban ruler Raúl Castro made a similar offer of dialogue just a few days
following Trump's inauguration in January.
Rodríguez, who visited several European countries last week, did not
directly answer a question about whether his government has had any
contact with the Trump administration. But his cagey response indicates
that formal interaction between both nations has not yet occurred.
"Naturally, there are intense relations between the U.S. and Cuba, due
to our proximity," Rodríguez said. "There has been a significant
increase in travelers...Cooperation agreements that were signed during
the last period are being implemented and there are some contacts at the
level of the U.S. government agencies and its Cuban counterparts on that
The foreign minister also refrained from commenting on Trump's time in
office thus far.
"Trump is the president of the United States, I don't vote in that
country," Rodríguez simply stated, adding that he was hopeful that Cuba
and the U.S. could maintain "a civilized relationship despite the
profound differences — which are known — that exist between the two
Cuba's highest-ranking diplomat also declined to answer a question about
his government's succession plans in 2018, when general elections are
expected to take place and Castro himself has publicly stated that he
will resign from the presidency.
"We will have to wait for the election results," Rodríguez said.
"Indeed, there will be general elections. Municipal and provincial
representatives will be elected, and also deputies, to the National
Assembly, and they will elect the President of the State Council and
Council of Ministers," he said, without making a direct reference about
Castro leaving his post.
Asked if there would be changes on the island when Cuba finally has a
president without Castro as a surname, Rodríguez responded: "Cuba is
changing all the time...There is no revolution that is not permanently
Rodríguez was also cautious with his words when asked about the ongoing
turmoil in Venezuela, a close ally. Cuba is monitoring the current
situation, he said, "with confidence in the Venezuelan people, in whom
we recognize have the full capacity to find solutions to their problems.
"We expect the international community to do the same," he added.
Follow Nora Gámez Torres on Twitter: @ngameztorres
Source: Cuba's Bruno Rodríguez reiterates its desire for dialogue with
the U.S. | Miami Herald -