Thursday, January 29, 2015

Raul Castro warns U.S. against meddling in Cuba's affairs

Raul Castro warns U.S. against meddling in Cuba's affairs
Wed Jan 28, 2015 6:42pm EST
By Enrique Pretel

Jan 28 (Reuters) - Cuba will not accept any interference from the United
States in its internal affairs, President Raul Castro said on Wednesday,
warning that meddling would make rapprochement between the two countries

His comments came after U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Roberta
Jacobson, the highest-ranking U.S. government official to visit the
island in 35 years, held talks with Cuban officials on restoring
diplomatic relations. Jacobson also met Cuban dissidents, annoying Cuban

"Everything appears to indicate that the aim is to foment an artificial
political opposition via economic, political and communicational means,"
Castro told a summit in Costa Rica.

"If these problems are not resolved, this diplomatic rapprochement
between Cuba and the United States would be meaningless," he said.

Castro made it clear, however, that he was committed to the talks
despite his concern that Washington might try to stir up internal
opposition within Cuba through greater telecommunications access and the

Castro said during the visit with American diplomats that Cuba had
proposed that it be removed from a blacklist of state sponsors of
terrorism, and the return of the U.S. Guantanamo naval base.

The Cuban leader also urged U.S. President Barack Obama to use executive
powers to ease a decades-long embargo against Cuba, saying Washington
could extend measures like those announced for telecoms to other areas
of the economy.

While Obama can gut much of the embargo, only Congress can lift it
completely. Obama has asked Congress to do so, and has started by easing
restrictions on telecommunications companies in Cuba, among other measures.

Any U.S. companies would have to reach an agreement with Cuban
authorities before doing business on the island.

Castro reiterated that he has no plans to budge from Cuba's single party
political system, although observers have said that does not rule out
the possibility that independent politicians might be given space to run
for local elections in the future.

Castro said Obama's decision to hold a debate in Congress about
eliminating the embargo was "significant", adding that he was aware that
ending it "will be a long and hard road".

The historic high-level talks between United States and Cuba in Havana
are expected to lead to re-establishment of diplomatic ties that were
severed by Washington in 1961. (Additional reporting by David Adams in
Miami and Daniel Trotta in Havana; Writing by Simon Gardner; Editing by
Gunna Dickson, Kieran Murray, Christian Plumb, Toni Reinhold)

Source: UPDATE 3-Raul Castro warns U.S. against meddling in Cuba's
affairs | Reuters -

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