Havana. A group of US politicians met in Havana for talks with senior members of the Cuban government.
Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel wrote on Twitter “I received a delegation from the US Congress chaired by James McGovern. We addressed our differences and issues of common interest.” He stressed that “the common will to improve bilateral relations has been reaffirmed. I have expressed the need to end actions that harm the Cuban people”.
The fairly influential Democratic US Congressman McGovern from Massachusetts has long been a proponent of normalizing relations with Cuba and has been a driving force in the past. He was joined by Matthew Bonaccorsi, Mark Pocan, Troy Anthony Carter and former Congressman William Delahunt, as well as a representative from the New England Council, a regional business association. On the Cuban side, Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez and Deputy Minister Carlos Fernandez de Cossío, responsible for the Cuban Foreign Ministry for the USA, were present.
Even if the thaw that Cuba is aiming for is far from being achieved, according to experts there have recently been a number of gestures and signals in this direction. For example, high-level migration talks took place between Cuba and the US on November 9, and recently the US Embassy in Havana announced that the US will resume full-scale processing of immigrant visas in Cuba in early 2023. Consular services had been unilaterally suspended under former President Donald Trump from 2017, resulting in a huge backlog of pending applications.
At the end of November, a delegation from the US Congress, including three members of the Agriculture Committee, met with Cuban congressmen and producers in Havana.
In the USA itself, criticism of the blockade policy and the numerous sanctions is increasing. In addition, in the UN General Assembly, the world community condemned the US policy with 185 votes to 2 and called for its end for the 30th time.
Meanwhile, President Diaz-Canel recently successfully completed a trip to Russia, China, Algeria and Turkey to sound out support options, especially for the Caribbean state’s energy supply. Algeria, Russia and Venezuela supply Cuba with oil, and China is now Cuba’s second largest trading partner after Venezuela and a key ally for the socialist island nation.
US Congressman McGovern, who also chairs the House Rules Committee, said at the meeting that “both nations need to find ways to work across differences on issues of common concern.”