Díaz-Canel says Cuba open to dialogue with Washington

31st October 2022

President Díaz-Canel has told a group of visiting North American and Cuban-American businessmen that Cuba is open to dialogue with the US. If it is based on respect, there could be “a narrowing of relations, regardless of the ideological differences that we have,” he said.

Speaking during an informal meeting at the Presidential Palace, he told the group that their visit and participation in a business forum in Havana was significant and had meaning. It demonstrated, he said, that Cuba had the will to strengthen business and trade relations between both countries, as well as Cuba’s desire to develop business with “Cuban compatriots, living outside the homeland, who want to participate in the development of our country.”

More specifically, he told the group that the exchanges emphasised the importance of “a dialogue with respect; a dialogue where our sovereignty and integrity are not attacked; a dialogue where there are no unilateral positions of force. And if that is respected, he said, there can be that dialogue, there can be that narrowing of relations, regardless of the ideological differences that we have.”

Continuing, he observed: “Repeatedly we have proposed to the United States government, through the channels that we have been able to use, that we are open to dialogue and conversation without conditions, and with the possibility of covering all possible topics.”

Cuba “ratifies that we are open to strengthen, tighten dialogue and relations with any country in the world; and in particular with the United States,” he told the visiting US business group.

Speaking about the embargo, Díaz-Canel noted that although the Biden Administration had begun to announce some steps aimed at easing aspects of the measures introduced by the Trump Administration, and the direction was correct, what had been said had “not yet materialised in the fundamentals.”

The US business group were in Havana to participate in a 25-28 October business forum organised by the Cuban Chamber of Commerce and the Washington based Focus Cuba group.

Speaking at the Forum, Phil Peters, one of Focus Cuba’s two partners, said Cuba had made important progress in relation to the participation of non-state actors in the economy. The issue, he said, formed one of the topics of discussion in relation to the possibility of US businesses partnering with Cuban enterprise in the domestic retail and wholesale market (Background Cuba Briefing 12 September 2022).

Photo by Will Colavito

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