Talk of Diplomatic Normalization Between U.S. and Cuba

Host 1: Cuba and the United States held talks about normalizing relations today in Washington. The U.S. currently includes Cuba on its list of countries that sponsor terrorism. Cuba wants to get off that list.

Host 2: Reporter Nardos Mesmer talked to Cubans in New York. They are hopeful about recent developments in U.S. – Cuba relations.

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Today’s talks are the second rounds of talks between the United States and Cuba. Removing Cuba from the U.S. terrorist list would be a key step in establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba.

Margaret Cahan, senior research scholar at the Institute of Latin American studies at Columbia University, says the terrorist designation is an obstacle to commercial relations.

MEG: The prime issue has been the fact that U.S has imposed sanctions on banks that have had business with Cuba, both US banks and primarily foreign banks.

Cubans in New York are following the negotiations closely as I found when I visited Amar Cubano, a restaurant in East Harlem.

Cuban-American Eliezer Leicea came to United States when he was 1 ½ years old. Speaking through a translator, he said he is hopeful for a new relationship between the United States and his mother country.

ELIEZER: We want that we want a better relationship with the United States and Cuba but we are not terrorist at all.

However, he believes real change will take place when the current Castro government is changed.

ELIEZER: He hopes that things change for the future the kids can see that but not right now. He thinks that really, they need to change the government if you want to see changes over there.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at a news conference today said, The terrorist designation is being evaluated but, “nothing will be done with respect to the list until the evaluation is completed.”

Nardos Mesmer Columbia Radio News

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