Hardbeatnews, HAVANA, Cuba, Mon. Dec. 18, 2006: A delegation led by Republican U.S. Congressman Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican, and William Delahunt, a Massachusetts Democrat, yesterday wrapped up a historic U.S. legislative mission to Cuba with a call for the end of the U.S.’ embargo against the island.
Flake, Delahunt and eight others, ended their three-day visit with a call to the Bush administration to take up Cuban interim leader, Raul Castro’s, invitation to dialogue.
“We unanimously believe that the US should respond positively to the proposal made by Raul Castro in his speech of December 2," said a joint the statement read by Flake, who along with Delahunt are members of the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Relations and leading members of the Cuba Working Group.
But the statement added, “America has important interests in Cuba and strong disagreements with the Cuban government. No one should be under the illusion that a negotiation with Cuba would be easy, or that [there will be] results at all. (But) there may be other areas of opportunity. Only by probing Cuba's proposal is it possible to find out.”
Queens, New York Congressman, Greg Meeks, who was part of the bi-partisan group, told Prensa Latina that he’s convinced US foreign policy must change not only concerning Iraq but also Cuba. “This is a golden opportunity to begin a dialogue,” the news agency quoted Meeks, whose district is home to several Caribbean migrants, as saying.
The agency also said the group of four Republicans and six Democrats held talks with Felipe Perez Roque, Cuba’s minister of Foreign Relations, Ricardo Alarcón, President of the National Assembly, Yadira Garcia, minister of Basic Industries, Francisco Soberon, president of the Central Bank, Fernando Remirez, International Relations Chief of the Communist Party´s Central Committee and Pedro Alvarez, Director of Alimport.
The U.S. trade embargo or ‘El Bloqueo,’ has been in place since 1962. The blockade has been continuously condemned by the UN since 1991.
Meanwhile, the lawmakers also denied a report published in the Washington Post Friday that Cuban President Fidel Castro is dying. US Director of National Intelligence, John D. Negroponte told a meeting of Washington Post editors and reporters Thursday, “Everything we see indicates it will not be much longer ... months, not years.”
JG: The Cuban government has indicated that the President of the Republic is recuperating and will recover. The island's leaders have always been very truthful about their reports. The same can not be said about the United States government. New leaders will take the center stage in the island, some changes will probably be made, and Cuba will continue to be free and sovereign.