Cuba: We Want Normalized U.S. Relations

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

United Nations (AP) - Cuba wants to re-establish relations with the United States with a focus on humanitarian and other issues, Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said Monday.

Rodriguez also called on President Barack Obama to release five Cubans serving U.S. espionage sentences, telling the opening of the new U.N. General Assembly that the continued imprisonment of the five men convicted of espionage in 2001 is "inhumane." The Cuban government refers to the five men as heroes who were gathering information about terrorist groups in the United States to protect their homeland.

The foreign minister said the two countries had many points of understanding in common.

"The Cuban government reiterates its willingness and interest to move toward the normalization of relations with the United States," Rodriguez said.

Cuba wants to re-establish relations with the United States with a focus on humanitarian and other issues, Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said Monday.

Rodriguez also called on President Barack Obama to release five Cubans serving U.S. espionage sentences, telling the opening of the new U.N. General Assembly that the continued imprisonment of the five men convicted of espionage in 2001 is "inhumane." The Cuban government refers to the five men as heroes who were gathering information about terrorist groups in the United States to protect their homeland.

The foreign minister said the two countries had many points of understanding in common.

"The Cuban government reiterates its willingness and interest to move toward the normalization of relations with the United States," Rodriguez said.

"Today I reiterate the proposal of beginning a dialogue aimed at solving bilateral problems, including humanitarian issues, as well as the offer of negotiating several cooperation agreements to combat drug-trafficking, terrorism, human smuggling, prevent natural disasters and protect the environment."

Among the humanitarian issues pending between the two countries is the continued imprisonment of American Alan Gross, who the Cuban government accuses of illegally bringing communications equipment onto the island while on a USAID-funded democracy building program.

In March of this year he was sentenced to 15 years in prison for crimes against the state.

Cuban officials including President Raul Castro accused him of spying, but Gross says he was only trying to help the island's tiny Jewish community get Internet access.

The case has harmed any chance of improved relations between Washington and Havana, which briefly seemed to be getting better after Obama assumed the presidency.

In an interview with The New York Times during his current visit to the United States, Rodriguez did not rule out the possibility of Gross being freed for humanitarian reasons. But he indicated Cuba would expect some kind of reciprocal action.

Rodriguez did not mention Gross in his speech to the assembly on Monday, but spoke several times about the five imprisoned Cubans.

"Today I reiterate the proposal of beginning a dialogue aimed at solving bilateral problems, including humanitarian issues, as well as the offer of negotiating several cooperation agreements to combat drug-trafficking, terrorism, human smuggling, prevent natural disasters and protect the environment."

Among the humanitarian issues pending between the two countries is the continued imprisonment of American Alan Gross, who the Cuban government accuses of illegally bringing communications equipment onto the island while on a USAID-funded democracy building program.

In March of this year he was sentenced to 15 years in prison for crimes against the state.

Cuban officials including President Raul Castro accused him of spying, but Gross says he was only trying to help the island's tiny Jewish community get Internet access.

The case has harmed any chance of improved relations between Washington and Havana, which briefly seemed to be getting better after Obama assumed the presidency.

In an interview with The New York Times during his current visit to the United States, Rodriguez did not rule out the possibility of Gross being freed for humanitarian reasons. But he indicated Cuba would expect some kind of reciprocal action.

Rodriguez did not mention Gross in his speech to the assembly on Monday, but spoke several times about the five imprisoned Cubans.


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  • by Gerry Location: Tallhassee on Oct 1, 2011 at 11:45 AM
    Only the US attempted to embargo Cuba. No other country in the world joined the US. Cuba was subsidized by the Soviet Union for 30 years after 1958.
  • by Georgia Boy Location: Cairo on Oct 1, 2011 at 03:09 AM
    They want to be able to line up for the cash handouts for corrupt governments. As for the embargo on Cuba, it didn't hurt the citizens enough to make them overthrow Castro. If it had been painful enough it would have.
  • by Gerry Location: Tallahassee on Sep 27, 2011 at 10:06 PM
    The US is the land of the free. Supposedly. Not, however, free to travel to Cuba. The US labels Cuba a state sponsor of terrorism. All that label accomplishes is to undermine Americans' faith in their government, and make Americans more cynical.
  • by Anonymous on Sep 27, 2011 at 02:16 PM
    I have always thought the US was stupid for the way it treats Cuba........ it only hurt the people not castro.
  • by Way past time on Sep 27, 2011 at 05:26 AM
    The embargo is crazy. In 2007 Canada and 183 other countries voted against the USA in the UN on the embargo. We have relations with many middle east countries that are not democratic so why not Cuba?
  • by Reagan Republican on Sep 26, 2011 at 11:17 PM
    They are interested in trade agreements with the United States. China will garner $350 billion in monetary revenue from America for this year. We wonder where all the jobs and money have gone...
  • by //////////// on Sep 26, 2011 at 08:31 PM
    maybe it is time too .
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