Human Rights in Cuba

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Cuba wants to sign accords with U.S. before Obama exit: officials
By Sarah Marsh | HAVANA

Cuba said on Wednesday it hoped to sign off on at least half a dozen
agreements with the United States before businessman Donald Trump, who
has threatened to derail detente between the former Cold War foes,
becomes president on Jan. 20.

Cuban and U.S. officials held talks in Havana to discuss what more could
be accomplished during President Barack Obama’s remaining weeks in
office, agreeing to arrange more high-level visits and technical meetings.

The more Cuba and the United States deepen their detente, the more
irreversible it will become, analysts said.

“At the moment we are negotiating 12 more (accords) with the aim to be
able to conclude and sign a majority of them,” Josefina Vidal, the Cuban
foreign ministry’s director of U.S. affairs, told a news conference.

The accords would be in areas such as seismology and meteorology, she
said, adding that Cuba and the United States had already signed a dozen
accords in the two years since they agreed to normalize relations,
ending decades of hostility.

They have also opened embassies, restored commercial flights and opened

But some fear all that is now at stake, given Republican Trump has said
he would seek to reverse the opening unless Communist-ruled Cuba gives
the United States what he calls a “better deal”.

Vidal declined to comment on Trump’s statements but said she hoped his
administration would recognize that the detente had the backing of most
Cubans and Americans.

“Cuba would hope the new U.S. government takes into account the results
we have achieved… that are backed by the majority of the Cuban
population (and) U.S. citizens,” she said.

Cuba was willing to continue improving relations but “within the respect
of the existing differences and without having to make any kind of
concession to the principles in which Cuba firmly believes,” Vidal added.

In Washington on Wednesday, U.S. lawmakers joined more than 100 Cuban
entrepreneurs to urge Trump to continue the thaw.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration is pressing American companies to
complete business deals in Cuba by then.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd and Norwegian Cruise Line said on Wednesday
they had received approval from Cuba’s government to operate cruises to
the island.

The number of U.S. visitors to Cuba had jumped 68 percent in the first
ten months of this year to 208,000, Vidal said.

(Reporting by Sarah Marsh; editing by Grant McCool)

Source: Cuba wants to sign accords with U.S. before Obama exit:
officials | Reuters –

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