Cuba, US upbeat after second day of normalization talks

Cuba

Progress has been reported on the second day of historic diplomatic talks between the U.S. and Cuba. Delegations zeroed in on re-opening embassies — One step in landmark discussions to normalize ties between Havana and Washington. CCTV America’s Michael Voss reported this story from Havana.

Cuba, US upbeat after second day of normalization talks

Progess has been reported on the second day of historic diplomatic talks between the U.S. and Cuba. Delegations zeroed in on re-opening embassies -- One step in landmark discussions to normalize ties between Havana and Washington. CCTV America's Michael Voss reported this story from Havana.

The American team is led by Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson and representing the Cubans is Josefina Vidal, head of the Cuban Foreign Ministry’s American desk.

“There are some steps that we will continue to talk about as part of the re-establishment for the diplomatic relations, including as I outlined before I came here, personnel and facilities and diplomatic shipments that we need to iron out diplomatic relations can be restored,” Jacobson said.

Jacobson and Vidal have met at the negotiating table before, but never for such a historic mission. Their goal is to help end half a century of confrontation and restore diplomatic relations. Their mood appeared positive, but there are concerns on both sides.

“To Cuba, this means reciprocal respect for the political, economic and social systems, sovereignty chosen by our people and to avoid any form of interference in the internal affairs,” Vidal said.

Both sides did appear keen to come up with a speedy solution. Despite Cuban President Raul Castro’s reforms, Cuba’s economy is struggling and in need of investment.

Cuba’s major ally Venezuela is also suffering from the effects of low oil prices, as is Russia which also faces Western sanctions over Ukraine.

Improved relations would also benefit U.S. strategic interests in Latin America, where almost all the region’s leaders support Cuba. Many have threatened to boycott the Summit of the Americas in April if Cuba is not included.