PANAMA CITY (Reuters) – Cuba and the United States just made history. Now comes the hard part.
In the first meeting of its kind in nearly 60 years, U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban leader Raul Castro sat down together for over an hour on Saturday at a regional summit in Panama, moving a step closer to restoring diplomatic ties.
PANAMA CITY (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama met Cuban President Raul Castro on Saturday in the highest-level talks between the two countries in nearly 60 years, and the two men agreed to push ahead on improving relations after decades of hostility.
Describing their private meeting as “historic,” Obama said the two countries can end the antagonism of the Cold War era, although he said he would continue to pressure the communist-led country on democracy and human rights.
PANAMA CITY (Reuters) – President Barack Obama challenged Latin American leaders on Saturday to improve human rights and democracy even as he works to end decades of hostility between the United States and communist-run Cuba.
Obama has won praise across much of Latin America for seeking to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba and he shook President Raul Castro’s hand in a show of the detente on Friday night, but he took a tougher line on Saturday in a speech at the Summit of the Americas in Panama.
PANAMA CITY (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro will share the same stage on Friday in an encounter rich with symbolism as their countries set aside decades of mistrust and attempt to restore diplomatic relations.
The rapprochement is set to dominate the Summit of the Americas meeting, held in Panama, less than four months after they announced they would seek to lower tensions and boost trade and travel between the two Cold War enemies.
PANAMA CITY (Reuters) – Cuba’s economy needs foreign capital to diversify, the island’s foreign trade minister said on Thursday, as he made an unusually open invitation to North and South American companies to talk to the Communist government about doing business there.
Business interest in Cuba has boomed since the historic announcement on Dec. 17, when U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro said they would restore diplomatic relations and seek to end more than five decades of hostility.
PANAMA CITY (Reuters) – One of the most influential pro-business lobbyists in Washington said on Wednesday he is optimistic the U.S. Congress might lift the trade embargo against Cuba before the next presidential election in 2016.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donahue, a longtime opponent of the embargo, said Republican opposition to removing Cuba sanctions could be overcome before the next presidential campaign.
HAVANA (Reuters) – In a rare challenge to Cuba’s political system from within, two government opponents are on the ballot for upcoming elections, only to find that officials have altered their biographies to portray them as dangers to the revolution.
Hildebrando Chaviano, 65, and Yuniel Lopez, 26, are running for municipal assembly in Havana on April 19 after winning endorsement from their neighbors in a show-of-hands vote at public meetings last month.
HAVANA (Reuters) – Former Cuban President Fidel Castro, 88, appeared in public “full of vitality” for the first time in more than a year on Monday, greeting a delegation of Venezuelans, official media reported on Saturday.
It was his first known appearance outside his home since Cuba in December agreed to normalize relations with the United States, Castro’s longtime adversary.
HAVANA (Reuters) – Cuba on Thursday proposed that a pending human rights dialogue with the United States begin on Tuesday in Washington, parallel to ongoing negotiations about restoring diplomatic ties that were severed in 1961.
“These conversations about human rights constitute an example of Cuba’s disposition to approach any topic with the United States, despite our differences,” Pedro Luis Pedroso, a foreign ministry official specializing in international law, told reporters in Havana.
HAVANA (Reuters) – The European Union and Cuba agreed to speed up the pace of talks on improving bilateral relations, hoping to reach the basics of a deal by the end of 2015, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said on Tuesday.
The EU and Cuba began negotiations in April last year to rewrite their bilateral political agreement, part of a deepening of ties since the 28-nation bloc lifted diplomatic sanctions in 2008.