News and Facts about Cuba

Cuba’s Castro says U.S. can do more to normalize relations

Cuba’s Castro says U.S. can do more to normalize relations
By Jaime Hamre

HAVANA (Reuters) – Cuba is willing to keep improving relations with the
United States even though Washington has failed to meet its key demands
for normalization, Cuban said on Friday, a day
after the anniversary of detente.

Castro, 84, the younger brother of retired leader , spoke to
top government and party leaders in an address broadcast on state TV
without prior notice.

He hailed advances the two countries have made since Dec. 17 last year
when he and U.S. President Barack Obama announced they would seek to
normalize ties and set aside decades of Cold War-era hostilities.

But he said they had “not made any progress” on issues Cuba considers
necessary for normal relations, such as ending the U.S. trade of
Cuba and U.S. withdrawal from the naval base at Cuba’s Guantanamo Bay.
He also said Obama could exert more of his executive authority on Cuba.

“The government of Cuba is fully willing to continue advancing in the
construction of a kind of relation with the United States that is
different from the one that has existed throughout its prior history,
that is based on mutual respect for sovereignty and independence,” said
Castro, dressed in his four-star general’s uniform.

Cuba and the United States restored diplomatic ties in July and have
reached agreements on restarting direct mail service and environmental
protection. On Thursday they struck a deal to re-establish scheduled
flights.

Obama’s administration embarked on rapprochement after concluding that
decades of U.S. isolation of Cuba had failed. But even as the two
countries draw closer, Washington continues to criticize the Communist,
one-party political system.

Obama told Yahoo News in an interview released on Monday about the
anniversary that he hopes to visit Cuba in 2016, but only if he is able
to meet with political dissidents and if he can possibly “nudge the
Cuban government in a new direction.”

, Castro said, was one area “on which we have profound
differences and about which we are having an exchange on the basis of
respect and reciprocity.”

Castro also reiterated Cuba’s commitment to socialism and bemoaned U.S.
programs aimed at undermining the Cuban government, such as support for
dissidents.

“No one should expect that, in order to normalize relations with the
United States, Cuba will renounce the principles and ideals for which
several generations of Cubans have struggled throughout more than half a
century,” Castro said.

(Reporting by Daniel Trotta and Jaime Hamre, editing by Frances Kerry
and Richard Chang)

Source: Cuba’s Castro says U.S. can do more to normalize relations –
Yahoo News –
news.yahoo.com/cubas-castro-says-willing-keep-improving-ties-u-195755349–business.html;_ylt=AwrC1C2EonVWPjAAeu7QtDMD;_ylu=X3oDMTByOHZyb21tBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzcg–

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