Havana’s pivotal role in talks between FARC and Bogota

World Today

After Cuba and the United States announced in 2014 their willingness to restore diplomatic relations, it took six months of tough negotiations before they finally reopened their embassies.

The breakthrough came when the U.S. took Cuba off its list of State Sponsors of Terrorism. Cuba is trying to build a reputation of using its connections around the world for peaceful means.

CCTV America’s Michael Voss reports.

Havana\'s pivotal role in talks between FARC and Bogota

After Cuba and the United States announced in 2014 their willingness to restore diplomatic relations, it took six months of tough negotiations before they finally reopened their embassies. The breakthrough came when the U.S. took Cuba off its list of State Sponsors of Terrorism. Cuba is trying to build a reputation of using its connections around the world for peaceful means. CCTV America's Michael Voss reports.

The peace talks in Havana between the FARC guerrilla movement and the Colombian government are tantalizingly close to ending Latin America’s longest running armed conflict.

These FARC fighters were flown here from their jungle and mountain hideouts to negotiate. This is in sharp contrast from earlier years when FARC and other Latin American rebels were secretly brought to Cuba for training.

The success of former leader Fidel Castro’s campaign to overthrow the dictator Fulgencio Batista led Cuba to try and export its revolution elsewhere. The iconic Argentine revolutionary, Ernesto Che Guevara, died in Bolivia in an unsuccessful bid to launch an uprising there.

Later, Cuba also sent troops to Africa to fight in the independence wars in what many saw as proxy conflicts between the United States and the Soviet Union.

But now Cuban President Raul Castro is positioning himself as a peace broker.

Raul Castro played an important role in the creation of CELAC, the Pan American Organization, which includes every country in Latin America and the Caribbean but not the U.S. or Canada.

In February, he brought together Pope Francis and the Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill for the first such meeting since the two Christian churches split a thousand years ago.

His biggest achievement to date, though, is agreeing to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba’s cold war foe the United States.

In times of conflict, foreign policy is often based on an old adage, my enemy’s enemy is my friend. Cuba still maintains good relations with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Syria and Iran and remains a close ally of both Russia and China. There’s no indication so far that Cuba is about change its old alliances.