Do Cuba and the United States Need to Rebuild Trust? / Ivan Garcia
Posted on February 23, 2015
Ivan Garcia, 20 February 2015 — Fifty Cuban and foreign journalists
attended the press conference that a delegation of congressional
Democrats headed by Nancy Pelosi held on the afternoon of Thursday,
February 19 outside the residence of Lynn Roche, the U.S. Interest
Section’s public affairs officer.
Nancy Pelosi, born in Maryland in 1940, traveled to Havana with
representatives Eliot Engel, Nydia Velazquez and Steve Israel (New
York), David Ciciline (Rhode Island), Rosa DeLauro (Connecticut), Collin
Peterson (Minnesota), Anna Eshoo (California ) and Jim McGovern
(Massachusetts). Pelosi and members of her delegation support removing
Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism and permanently
lifting the U.S. embargo.
Other issues of mutual interest discussed at the conference included
increased access to telecommunications, empowering small businesses,
agricultural development and human rights.
Jim McGoven believes reconciliation between the two governments is the
best way to reach an agreement on human rights. “I think that we can
probably accomplish a lot more if we have a relationship based on mutual
respect,” said McGovern.
Pelosi agreed with her colleague, adding, “Both countries need to
rebuild mutual trust.”
During their three-day visit to Havana, the U.S. delegation stayed at
the centrally located Hotel Saratoga and held meetings with chancellor
Bruno Rodriguez, National Assembly president Ana Maria Machado and about
twenty deputies, Cardinal Jaime Ortega, a group small private-sector
business owners and Josefina Vida, Cuba’s lead negotiator in talks with
the United States.
As of this writing, neither Nancy Pelosi nor any members of her
delegation have met with Cuban dissidents. The new political landscape
has divided the opposition. Activists such as Elizardo Sanchez and Jose
Daniel Ferrer approve of the approach taken by President Obama. On the
other hand, dissidents such as Antonio Rodiles and Berto Soler disagree
with the White House policy.
The exchange with congressional Democrats was attended foreign
correspondents as well as official and independent Cuban journalists. It
was the third time that representatives of state and independent media
outlets met at a press conference since December 17, when a historic
diplomatic development was announced between two governments whose
differences seemed irreconcilable.
The visit led by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi took place a week
before officials from Cuba and the United States begin a second round of
negotiations on Friday, February 27 in Washington. The first round took
place in Havana in January.
Meanwhile, average Cubans have lowered any expectations they may have
had over the improvement in relations between the two countries. To
Yosuan, a Havana taxi driver, “it all sounds very nice but it’s
unrelated to the needs of people on the street.”
Ivan Garcia and Celeste Matos reporting from Havana.
Source: Do Cuba and the United States Need to Rebuild Trust? / Ivan
Garcia | Translating Cuba –