U.S. Officials Begin Talks With Cuban Government

This past weekend, seven U.S. legislators began talks with Cuban government officials, the Latin American Herald Tribune is reporting; the meetings are aimed at starting up a dialogue between two countries that have not had diplomatic relations in several decades.

The visit coincided with reports in the Wall Street Journal that President Barack Obama plans to lift restrictions on travel and sending of packages to the communist-ruled island-nation, this way fulfilling an important campaign promise. This could be the first step in improved relations with the Cuban government.

Democratic Representative from California Barbara Lee, who led the delegation, said in a press conference on Saturday in Havana that she thinks “it’s time to talk to Cuba.” She continued: “Thus far we’ve had a very productive visit. We would love to meet with President Raul Castro and we’re waiting for [a decision in that regard].”

Lifting the travel restrictions would affect approximately 1.5 million people in the United States who have family members still in Cuba. “I think the entire world is very optimistic about a shift in direction in terms of U.S. foreign policy throughout the world,” Lee said. “I know we do and that’s why we’re here.”