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Thursday 22nd
posted by Morning Star in World

TWO-DAY talks began in Havana yesterday between Cuban officials and the highest-level US delegation to the socialist island in decades.

Negotiators focused on migration — everything from ensuring the safety of chartered flights between Miami and Havana to forged travel documents and joint search-and-rescue missions.

A key issue for the Cubans is the US Cuban Adjustment Act. It allows people who make it to the US mainland to apply for permanent resident status after a year, which Havana says drives illegal emigration.

Today the issue at stake will be on how best to go about establishing a Cuban embassy in Washington and a US embassy in Havana.

Speaking before the start of the talks yesterday, a spokesperson for Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: “We should not think that everything will be solved in a single meeting,” noting that it had been more than 50 years since diplomatic ties between the countries were broken.

Restoring relations would take much longer, they said, and many problems still needed solving.

Not least of those is the crippling embargo the US imposed on Cuba over 54 years ago intended to choke the life out of the country’s revolution.

“The compensations for damages due to a policy that has been in force for more than 50 years must be discussed,” a Cuban diplomatic source said.

He added that it was crucial that the US agree to vital international principles that outlaw meddling in another state’s affairs.