On the state of U.S.-Cuba relations

The Associated Press reports on U.S. Secretary of State’s forthcoming decision on whether to recommend removing Cuba from a list of countries sponsoring terrorism: http://www.businessweek.com/ap/2013-03-23/key-us-decision-on-cuba-terror-designation-coming  The article notes that the decision will have a major impact on bilateral relations, either “ushering in long-stalled detente or slamming the door on rapprochement, perhaps until the scheduled end of the Castro era in 2018.”

Foreign Policy has a blog post about dissident Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez, who told an audience at Washington’s Cato Institute that she believed the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba should be lifted: http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/03/19/yoani_sanchez_on_why_its_time_to_end_the_embargo

The U.S. State Department’s Bureau for Narcotics Control and International Law Enforcement Affairs annual report on drug trafficking had rather favorable things to say about Cuba, a country the region’s narcotraficantes would just love to bring into their fold.  The report notes that “Cuba’s domestic drug production and consumption remain negligible as a result of active policing, harsh sentencing for drug offenses, and very low consumer disposable income” and the country “maintained a significant level of cooperation with U.S. counternarcotics efforts “The report also praised “the technical skill of Cuba’s security services,” which gave it an edge over drug traffickers attempting to access the island.  http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/204265.pdf

And earlier this month Granma, Cuba’s official newspaper, published an interview with U.S. Consul General Timothy Roche on the procedure for obtaining a U.S. visa. The U.S. Interests Section in Havana requested the interview shortly after Cuban authorities lifted the exit visa requirement for most Cubans wishing to travel abroad.http://www.granma.cubaweb.cu/2013/03/11/pdf/pagina05.pdf