Cuba to demand again its removal from the list of countries that sponsor terrorism

The spokesman of the Cuban delegation negotiating with the United States, Gustavo Machin, said the restoration of diplomatic relations between the two countries would be difficult to achieve while Cuba remains in the US list of countries that sponsor terrorism.

Gustavo Machin, Assistant Director for the U.S. at the Cuban Foreign Ministry
Gustavo Machin, Assistant Director for the U.S. at the Cuban Foreign Ministry

Havana expects at the meeting on February 27th a response from Washington on this point and on opening the bank account of its future embassy because today no bank accepts it because the controls that exist on the countries of “the list”.

President Barack Obama has special interest in the opening of embassies to be made before the Summit of the Americas to get there with something in his hands, since he cannot lift the embargo, as all Latin American governments have asked him.

At the next meeting, the Cuban delegation, headed by Josefina Vidal, ” will insist” that the US diplomatic personnel respects the principles of international law, national laws and not to get involved in internal affairs, said Machin.

In short, they will ask to stop supporting and funding dissident groups, which have a close relationship with the US diplomatic delegation, whose facilities have held meetings, organized courses, held teleconferences and have an Internet café for dissidents.

However, according to the Cuban diplomat, so far no US negotiators have asked Cuba to change any of its national law. He added that these issues are not at the negotiating table because it is incumbent only to Cubans to decide the course of the nation and the changes that his country is undertaking are voluntarily and come from before the start of bilateral dialogue. Transformations meet the guidelines discussed by millions of citizens and seek to create a prosperous and sustainable socialism.

Moreover, Gustavo Machin announced that the US State Department had accepted the Cuban proposal to hold a dialogue on Human Rights and announced that his delegation takes a concrete proposal on how to implement the debate. We have serious concerns, the diplomat said, on situations that arise in the exercise of human rights in the US and therefore propose to hold an exchange but always on the basis of equality and reciprocity.

He also addressed the issue of deportations and stressed that his country has the right to grant political asylum to which it believes that it deserves it, advancing the political refugees from Cuba would remain protected even if an extradition agreement was signed.

One of the most controversial cases is that of an African American woman linked to the Black Panthers movement, which is accused of murdering a US policeman and escaping. She lives in Havana possibly after been granted asylum.

It would work differently with common criminals. Machin said that for many years his country has been deporting them to the US, citing the case of an American couple that was sent back to their country by the Cuban authorities.

The Cuban delegation strongly emphasizes that the current approach is based on two different processes on the one hand the “reestablishment” of diplomatic relations, on the other the “normalization” of relations between the two nations.

The first process ends when the two embassies are open but according Havana, normalization can only come after the end of the economic embargo, which has lasted over half a century. It is a measure that restricts Cuban trade and finances in the world.

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