US delegation in Cuba begins talks on embassies and diplomatic ties

WASHINGTON D.C. United States, Thursday January 22, 2015, CMC – As part of the deal in improving relations with Cuba, the United States Department of State says Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta S. Jacobson is currently in Havana on a four-day trip.

The visit, which began on Wednesday, is “to take advantage of previously planned Migration Talks to launch a discussion with the Cuban Government on re-establishing diplomatic relations.

According to a statement, “Re-establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba is a key step for the implementation of changes in the US-Cuba relationship announced by President Obama on December 17.”

It said the agenda will include technical and logistical arrangements, such as embassy operations, staffing and visa processing.

While in Havana, Jacobson will meet with members of independent civil society, as well as religious and independent business leaders.

“By facilitating the Cuban people’s access to greater resources and information, the policy change seeks to engender greater respect for human rights and adherence to democratic principles in Cuba,” the State Department added.

Stating that he believes in a “smarter kind of American leadership,” US President Barack Obama has called on the US Congress to lift the half-century-old trade and economic embargo against Cuba.

“In Cuba, we are ending a policy that was long past its expiration date,” said Obama in his “State of the Union” address on Tuesday night. “When what you’re doing doesn’t work for 50 years, it’s time to try something new.”

In his deal with President Raúl Castro of Cuba to restore full diplomatic relations with the Spanish-speaking Caribbean country for the first time in more than half a century, Obama said it will not only be easier for Americans to travel to Cuba, but it will also be easier to send money there.

According to the US Department of State, American telecommunications providers, financial institutions and agricultural companies will be given more opportunities to do business in Cuba.

Additionally, visitors will be allowed to spend more, use credit cards and even bring home up to US$100 in Cuban cigars.

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