Obama's list of invitees in Cuba 'Non-Negotiable' with Havana

White House wouldn’t be surprised if list includes individuals Cuban government wouldn’t want meeting with Obama

Obama's list of invitees in Cuba 'Non-Negotiable' with Havana

World Bulletin / News Desk

President Barack Obama will meet with dissidents of his choice during an upcoming trip to Cuba despite any objections from Havana, the White House said Friday.

“The list of people invited to meet with the president in Cuba is non-negotiable,” said spokesman Josh Earnest. “I would not be surprised if there might be people on that list that the Cuban government would prefer that we not meet with.”

It is not yet clear who exactly Obama intends to meet with as the list has not been made public.

But Earnest said that in addition to “forcefully advocating for normalized relations between our countries and better respect for human rights in Cuba” during a meeting with Cuban President Raul Castro, Obama will use a nationally televised speech to push the agenda.

The recently agreed to broadcast will be "quite powerful", Earnest said.

"And I think that will be a powerful message to the Cuban people,” Earnest said.

Obama will kick off a three-day trip to the island nation Sunday – the first for a U.S. president since former president Calvin Coolidge visited nearly 90 years ago.

Havana and Washington began to mend ties long-battered by the Cold War in 2014, opening embassies in their respective capitals the following summer.

They have continued to engage in negotiations over a full normalization and have yet to address several major hurdles, including the U.S. embargo, the status of the U.S. naval facility at Guantanamo Bay and Cuba's human rights record.

The Obama administration has resisted charges that changing the long-held policy is a reward to the Castro government, insisting that decades of intransigence have not brought reform to Cuba.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 19 Mart 2016, 09:52