Normalization with U.S. still years away, Cuban diplomat says
Havana, Dec 13 (EFE).- The normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States could take years and will not be resolved during the presidency of Barack Obama, a long-time head of the Cuban Interests Section in Washington told the Communist Party daily Granma.
“Some progress is being made” in achieving a rapprochement, Ramon Sanchez Parodi said in an interview published Friday. “The political times favor the elimination of the (U.S. economic) embargo…(but)…it’s not going to happen with Obama.”
“Obama has never been, in any way, inclined to seek a normalization of relations. His policy is a version light of the same old George W. Bush policy. Nothing has changed,” he said.
“It might happen during the next presidencies, whether Republicans or Democrats, because it’s another one of our mistakes to count on the Democrats,” Sanchez Parodi said.
“Direct talks began with Nixon and with Kissinger no less,” he pointed out.
Sanchez Parodi was the man designated by the Fidel Castro government to take part in the first secret contacts for a possible normalization of relations.
And in 1977, when those talks led to the establishment of interests sections in the respective capitals, Sanchez Parodi was sent to Washington, where he represented Cuba until 1989.
“If not in the next (U.S.) administration, perhaps in the one after that, a substantial decision should be taken about normalizing relations with Cuba,” he said.
“The easiest thing, and what would do the most to force change, would be for the U.S. to eliminate the ban on United States citizens traveling to Cuba – that would force a transformation of the embargo,” he told Granma.
The embargo, imposed in 1962, will not be raised by decree, but will be a process “that could take many years,” Sanchez Parodi said.
He said the United States has a policy toward Cuba whose goal is “to restore its domination” and noted that “if they don’t give up that idea, there will never be normal relations.”
When the interests sections were created under President Jimmy Carter, both parties believed they would evolve into embassies and the dialogue would continue, but “the circumstances were always complex and there were many interests to the contrary,” Sanchez Parodi said.