Washington (CNN) - U.S. and Cuban officials are set to sit down together in Washington on Friday to discuss immigration and other issues, according to a State Department spokesman.
"The U.S. views the migration talks as an important opportunity for both the United States and Cuban governments to discuss policies and procedures that promote safe, legal, and orderly migration," State Department spokesman Michael Tran told CNN Sunday.
HAVANA, Cuba (CNN) – U.S. diplomats were allowed access Monday to an American subcontractor detained by Cuban authorities, according to the U.S. Interest Section in Havana.
The visit is the first since the man's arrest December 5, U.S. Interest Section spokeswoman Gloria Berbena told CNN.
She declined to offer further details regarding the man's identity or conditions of his arrest.
Havana, Cuba (CNN) – A metaphorical timeout has been in place between the United States and Cuba for nearly 50 years. But that could all be changing with the help of sports.
Fifty-six Americans flew to Havana this week for a series of games with Cuban counterparts. The games are friendly, But these veteran players take their softball seriously.
"Well we sort of got a handle on softball diplomacy and big things start in small places and maybe this will be the spot for it," said U.S. softball player Stu Gray.
For the opposing pitcher, it's working.
"This bolsters ties between the two countries ... There's a real friendship between us," said Cuban softball player Roberto Castelo.
Players from the two baseball-crazed nations are all over 55.
"I'd like to see more Americans have the opportunity to come to Cuba and see what Cuba is today. And I think the Cubans appreciate Americans," said U.S. softball player David Brissen.
And that idea is gaining traction in Congress.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The U.S. government has no right to restrict Americans from traveling to Cuba, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said Thursday.
"It is the only country in the world where our people are not allowed to go," said Rep. Howard Berman, D-California, at the start of a hearing on whether it is time to lift the travel ban.
"Let's face it. By any objective measure, the nearly 50-year-old travel ban simply hasn't worked," Berman said, referring to the Communist nation's refusal to embrace democracy.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A former State Department official and his wife have
been arrested and charged with being spies for the Cuban government fo the past
HAVANA, Cuba (CNN) - If Americans wonder what it's like to travel to Cuba, just ask a Canadian.
"Let's be honest, there's a mystique about Cuba," said Graham Cook, a Canadian golf course designer.
Or ask South African pro golfer Ernie Els, the star attraction at a Cuban golf tournament aimed at turning the island into the sport's next destination.
"It would be great to see the Americans and the Cubans get together," Els said. "There's lots of potential here."
Every year, foreign travelers escape to Cuba's exotic shores and Spanish colonial streets, pumping an estimated $2 billion into the island's economy.
There are stunning examples in Cuba of how America's biggest competitors are investing heavily in the island nation, from European hotels to Chinese oil drilling operations. But the 47-year-old trade embargo with Cuba has Americans only watching from the sidelines, 90 miles away.
HAVANA, Cuba (CNN) - President Obama misinterpreted Cuban President Raúl Castro's offer to start talks with the United States, Castro's brother Fidel said Wednesday, appearing to dismiss the U.S. leader's call for Cuba to release political prisoners.
In an essay published in state-run newspapers Wednesday, the ailing revolutionary leader said the people Washington calls political prisoners are "in the service of a foreign power that threatens and blockades our homeland."
Fidel Castro's comments come after signs of a thaw in the decades-old impasse between the United States and the communist-ruled island to its south.
Obama lifted all restrictions on visits and money transfers between American citizens and relatives in Cuba this month, while Raúl Castro said Cuba is prepared to talk with the United States about "everything - human rights, freedom of the press, political prisoners."
Speaking at a conference of inter-American and Caribbean leaders Sunday, Obama said the Cuban leader's declaration was "a sign of progress."
He added that the Cuban government could send a much clearer, more positive signal by releasing political prisoners or reducing fees charged on remittances Americans send to relatives in the country.
But Fidel Castro wrote Wednesday, "There is no doubt that the president misinterpreted Raúl's statements."
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago (CNN) - President Obama said Friday he is seeking "a new beginning" in U.S. relations with Cuba.
Before addressing the representatives of 34 countries at the Summit of the Americas, Obama and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez saw each other and shook hands.
"Every one of our nations has a right to follow its own path," Obama told the assembly. "But we all have a responsibility to see that the people of the Americas have the ability to pursue their own dreams in democratic societies.
"Toward that end, the United States seeks a new beginning with Cuba."
Obama arrived in Trinidad and Tobago on Friday evening for the Summit of the Americas, a key meeting of hemispheric powers. Although it was not represented at the talks, the subject of Cuba dominated the president's speech.
In prepared remarks, Obama said that "decades of mistrust" must be overcome, but noted that he has already loosened restrictions that limited Americans from traveling to visit relatives in Cuba and from sending money to them.
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago (CNN) - In remarks to be delivered Friday to representatives of 34 countries at the Summit of the Americas here, President Obama says he is seeking "a new beginning" in U.S. relations with Cuba.
"Every one of our nations has a right to follow its own path," a transcript of his prepared remarks reads. "But we all have a responsibility to see that the people of the Americas have the ability to pursue their own dreams in democratic societies.
In the prepared remarks, Obama adds that "decades of mistrust" must be overcome, but notes that he has already loosened restrictions that limited Americans from traveling to visit relatives in Cuba and from sending money to them.
Obama lifted all restrictions Monday on the ability of individuals to visit relatives in Cuba, as well as to send them remittances.
(CNN) - The United States and Cuba are exchanging what may be the warmest of words between the two nations in over 50 years.
According to an advance copy of President Obama's opening remarks at the Summit of the Americas released Friday by the White House, the president will announce the first steps toward a "new day" in U.S.-Cuban relations.
"The United States seeks a new beginning with Cuba. I know there is a longer journey that must be traveled in overcoming decades of mistrust, but there are critical steps we can take toward a new day," the president is expected to say. "I have already changed a Cuba policy that has failed to advance liberty or opportunity for the Cuban people. We will now allow Cuban Americans to visit the island whenever they choose and to provide resources to their families – the same way that so many people in my country send money back to their families in your countries to help them pay for their everyday needs."
"Let me be clear: I am not interested in talking for the sake of talking. But I do believe that we can move U.S.-Cuban relations in a new direction."
Cuban President Raul Castro said Thursday he had sent the U.S. government word he was willing to talk about "human rights, freedom of the press, political prisoners - everything, everything, everything they want to discuss."
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton responded to Castro's remarks at a press conference Friday. In appearance alongside Dominican Republic President Leonel Antonio Fernandez, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said US policy toward Cuba has failed and that the United States was "taking a very serious look" at how to respond to Cuban President Raul Castro's 'overture.'