The change occurring in U.S. policy toward Cuba stands for democratic values “and extends the hand of friendship to the Cuban people,” President Obama says.
On January 21, the highest-level U.S. delegation to Cuba in more than three decades began extended talks with Cuban officials to re-establish diplomatic relations and to promote “safe, legal and orderly migration” between the two nations.
“Our shift in Cuba policy has the potential to end a legacy of mistrust in our hemisphere.” — President Obama
Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson leads the delegation that will meet with Cuban officials for migration talks focusing on everything from security for commercial flights from Miami to Havana to curbing fraudulent passports, oil spill mitigation and anti-drug cooperation. On January 22, Jacobson and the delegation will begin talks on re-establishing normal diplomatic relations. Included will be decisions on opening the U.S. Embassy, staffing and visa processing.
Jacobson also plans to meet with members of independent civil society groups, as well as religious and independent business leaders, during the visit.
President Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro announced their intentions in December to re-establish diplomatic relations.