Expelled Senior Spy Assails Washington’s Unchanging Foreign Policy 2

Cuba Criticizes President Obama, Says Island is Changing While US Policy is Not

AP Updated: Friday, February 1, 2:58 PM

HAVANA — A senior Cuban official sharply criticized U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday for suggesting Cuba was stuck in the past, saying the only anachronistic element of the relationship is Washington’s half-century-old economic embargo.

Josefina Vidal, the head of the Foreign Ministry’s North American affairs division, said Obama was poorly informed if he thought Cuba had not changed in recent years. She said her country has always been willing to negotiate improved relations with the U.S.

“It’s unfortunate that President Obama continues to be poorly advised and ill-informed about the Cuban reality, as well as the sentiments of his own people who desire normalization of our relationship,” Vidal said in a statement sent to foreign media on the island. She said Cuba was “changing and advancing,” a reference to economic and social reforms enacted in recent years under President Raul Castro.

In an interview with the Spanish news channel Telemundo broadcast Wednesday, Obama said his administration is open to better ties but that “it’s got to be a two-way street.” He said Cuban jails are still filled with political prisoners and that the island’s leaders are clinging to a failed model. “It’s time to join the 21st century,” he said. “It’s one thing to have cars from the 1950s. It’s another thing when your whole political ideology .. is 50 years or 60 years old and it’s been proven not to work.”

In recent years, Cuba has allowed for limited capitalism and legalized the real estate market, among other reforms, while insisting the changes did not constitute a break from its socialist model. Among the measures getting the most attention was last month’s lifting of a longstanding requirement that islanders ask the government’s permission to travel abroad.
Dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez’s request for a new passport was granted on Thursday. Last year she was denied a “white card,” or exit permit, when she tried to travel to Brazil for a film festival, something she says has happened to her about 20 times in recent years. “Visas for (hashtag)Brazil and for the (hashtag)Schengen agreement nations arranged, they will be delivered to me next week,” Sanchez said on Twitter on Friday. The “Schengen area” is a region in Europe within which there are little or no border or visa controls between Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany and France.

But Sanchez and others bemoaned the denial of passports to two other government opponents. Dissidents Angel Moya and Jose Daniel Ferrer were turned down under a clause that lets the government withhold travel papers to people facing legal cases, or for reasons of national security or public interest. The men were among the 75 activists jailed in the 2003 “black spring” crackdown on dissent. While they were later freed, their release was conditional and technically are still serving long sentences.

Mixed in with the mutual recriminations between Obama and Vidal were the usual conditional affirmations of openness to dialogue. In her rebuttal of Obama, Vidal says America “can always count on the willingness of the people and government of Cuba to work to advance bilateral relations.” Obama, in his Telemundo interview, said that he could foresee improved ties during his second term if Cuba meets him half way.

Editor’s Note: Josefina de la C. Vidal Ferreiro left the US in May 2003 when her husband, Jose Anselmo Lopez Perera; and 13 other spy-diplomats were thrown out of the United States. Vidal and Maria Cristina Delgado Suarez (wife of expelled spy Raul Rodriguez Averhoff) both left the country voluntarily. That said, both women were known to US authorities as Cuban intelligence officers and this fact played into the selection of their husbands for expulsion.

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2 comments

  1. The Cuban murderous Regime pretend to fool the world with makeover changes instead of real changes.The Cuban regime (Castro) Raul,Fidel,etc will only allowed changes that are not going to affect their Hegemony.Castro and his repressive apparatus will never allowed real changes in their policy because if they do so they will be endangering their grip on power.We must consider that Castro regime is the only country in the Caribbean that is not allowing free elections or an
    election where different parties will be the runners for Political office.Castro is lacking the interest in a real transition because he knows that many,including him in his government are or have been involved in murder and repression of the opposition.Castro better than anyone else know that if there is a transitions all those crimes are going to be scrutinize and
    it would not be nice to regress from Commander in Chief to “MOST WANTED”.
    If we look at the whole entire spectrum,we need to consider that there are not many choices for a country that has totally erased their economic infrastructure due to mismanagement.How can Raul Castro out of the sudden stabilized an economy that him and his senile brother have destroyed in 54 years of mismanagement? An idiot will believe such bluffing.

  2. Josefina Vidal is a hypocrite. How can she say that Cuba is moving forward? In what way is Cuba moving forward? Where has Josefina Vidal has been living ? Of course she is living enjoying all the luxuries of the privileged Cuban Class,the communists.She is as demagogic as Joseph Goebbels and Tari Hazi. It is lamentable that Cuba due to the misgoverning of the ruling elite,the assassin Raul Castro and the bunch of Corrupt Generals have transformed Cuba from a prosperous Island to the latrine of the Caribbean, very close to be compare with Haiti.Its is very obvious that Vidal does not want to see
    the murderous and destructive legacy of communism.
    Our President has not been misguided,he does not need to be guided to perceive the obvious.Castro and his “useful idiots” are so arrogant and will never accept the fact that Communism is a proven failure, Communism was created by an idiot for idiots.Communism was created by the bum Karl Marx,his so call “new man” theory never worked.
    What is Cuba’s reality? Hunger,lack of living incentive,discrimination,lack of liberties,repression,Firing squads,corruption,indoctrination.”JOSEFINA VIDAL YOU ARE JUST A LIAR”

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