In broadcast speech today, Castro reflected om advances the two countries have made in the last year when he and US President Obama announced they would work to normalize ties and repair decades of Cold War-era hostilities.
In the unscheduled speech, Castro said, “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.”
The area of human rights is one, “on which we have profound differences and about which we are having an exchange on the basis of respect and reciprocity.”
The last few weeks have witnessed profound changes for Cuba and for Cuba’s relationship with the US. This includes:
- This week the US and Cuba reached an agreement to restore regularly-scheduled flights.
- Last week, the US and Cuba met for the first time to discuss resolving the long-standing problem of claims compensation for property and businesses seized in the wake of the 1959 Cuban revolution.
- Last week, Cuba came to terms with the some of its creditors. The Paris Club group of creditors accepted terms that are generous to Cuba. Creditors have forgiven $8.5 billion of Cuba’s $11.1 billion debt. The deal covers official debt defaulted on through 1986, plus interest, service charges and penalties. Coming to terms with the past suggests Cuba is willing to negotiate at some level.