US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Bisa Williams, met with Cuban deputy foreign minister Dagoberto Rodriguez and members of civil society "to assess the economic and political situation on the island," a spokesman for the US Interests Section has divulged.
The United States government cut off all political ties with the communist island nation, and the visit from Williams marks the first time a high-ranking US official has visited Cuba since 2002. Williams, who also heads the State Department's Cuba office in Washington, took the step to reengage in diplomatic relations after bilateral meetings last week that renewed postal service between the US and Cuba.
While in Cuba, she toured hurricane-ravaged sectors and met with both members of Castro's government as well as dissidents. "They wanted to listen to us. They set themselves apart a bit from theEuropean Union which only wants to talk with the government," dissident Elizardo Sanchez told the AFP. "But this official spoke with authorities, and spoke with us."