Some tension is emerging between the United States and Cuba, as United States President Barack Obama has been warned not to interfere with the “internal affairs” of Cuba. The Caribbean nation has said that it will not negotiate matters that are critical to its internal system, even if that means improving its relations with the United States. Cuba has told President Obama not to visit the country if he intends to get involved in Cuba’s private matters.
The director of United States affairs in the Cuban foreign ministry Josefina Vidal said, “The day that the President of the United States decides to visit Cuba, he will be welcome. Regarding what I just said, I'd like to recall that Cuba has always said that it is not going to negotiate matters that are inherent to its internal system in exchange for an improvement in or the normalization of relations with the United States.”
Earlier this week on Monday, President Obama said that he was planning to visit Cuba sometime in 2016, assuming that the circumstances are proper. President Obama has said that he wants to talk to all necessary leaders and people, including the pro-democracy groups that are funded by the United States and political dissidents. The president has also said that he wants to “nudge” the Cuban government in a different direction.
Such comments were made by Obama just days before the anniversary of Cuban President Raul Castro and President Obama in announcing the start of the revitalization of relations between the two nations on December 17, 2014. Both Americans and Cubans have said that significant progress towards restoring relations have been made over the past year.
However, the Cuban government has said that four conditions will need to be met in order for positive relations to be fully restored. The United States will need to close the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, cease the blockade on trade, end the “wet-foot-dry foot” policy that encourages Cubans to immigrate to the United States and put a stop to anti-government radio and television transmissions that are broadcast on the island.
It appears that President Obama would be willing to meet these demands, but no news of such changes have been announced at this time. While the statements made by Vidal appear to be a small setback for the United States and Cuba, there’s no reason that they cannot be overcome. Ultimately, it still appears that the two countries are still on the path towards restoring their severed ties.