U.S. and Cuba Hold Another Meeting of the Bilateral Commission

On September 30 in Washington, D.C. the United States and Cuba held another meeting of their Bilateral Commission.[1]

According to the U.S. State Department, the U.S. and Cuban delegations discussed the way forward on key issues such as agriculture, health, environmental protection, economic engagement, science and technology, civil aviation, regulatory affairs, claims, culture and education, law enforcement, nonproliferation, trafficking in persons, human rights, maritime borders, and migration. The delegations also discussed prospects for upcoming high-level visits and their shared desire to achieve as much progress as possible by the end of the year.

Cuba’s delegation had the following more revelatory post-meeting account:[2]

  • “There has been progress in diplomatic ties and in the field of cooperation on issues of mutual interest, including the exchange of high level visits;the resumption of regular flights between the two countries; the adoption of agreements on cooperation in health, fighting drug trafficking and deployment of security officers in charter and scheduled flights; conducting technical meetings on the environment, geodesy and hydrography, aviation security and aviation, terrorism, drug trafficking, human trafficking and immigration fraud, judicial assistance in criminal matters, security of the flow of travelers and goods, and cybersecurity; and the implementation of the program of collaboration for the teaching of English in Cuba. [There were] . . . regulatory dialogues and trade-offs occurred and Cuba-US-Mexico negotiations on the delimitation of the Eastern Polygon Gulf of Mexico began.”
  • “The Cuban side stressed that [there were] few results in the economic sphere, due to the effect of the blockade, and reaffirmed that [in order for] progress in economic, trade and financial relations, it is essential that this policy be eliminated, as was expressed by the representatives of Cuba during the celebration, on 12 September, the first meeting of the Economic Dialogue mechanism of the Bilateral Commission to address these issues.Similarly, [Cuba] insisted that [for] progress in improving relations, it is also necessary that the territory illegally occupied by the Naval Base of the United States at Guantanamo be returned; [that the U.S. must eliminate] other interventionist [programs that are] harmful to our sovereignty policies [such as] programs to promote internal changes in Cuba and the use of information technology and communications for political purposes.”
  • “[The U.S. also needs] to modify the existing preferential immigration policy of the United States, expressed in the life of the Cuban Adjustment Act, the policy of dry feet wet and Programme of Parole for Cuban medical professionals that not only stimulate illegal emigration and [insecurity] of our citizens and deprive Cuba of vital human resources [and] created increasing difficulties to other countries.”
  • “In the coming months, the two delegations agreed to continue promoting high-level visits; progress in the negotiations of new agreements on issues such as seismology, meteorology, terrestrial protected areas, marine pollution by oil spills and other substances, implementation and enforcement, and search and rescue;hold technical meetings on cyber crime and money laundering, and between Border Troops of Cuba and the US Coast Guard .; as well as hold talks on disarmament and non-proliferation, and human rights.”

While it is good for normalization for the two countries to meet, it is impossible for this outsider to believe that anything positive was accomplished on that long list of topics in just one business day.


[1]  Cuba and the United States held fourth session of the Bilateral Commission, Granma (Sept. 28, 2016); Cuba and the United States discuss security of flows of persons and goods and cybersecurity, Granma (Sept. 30, 2016); U.S. Dep’t of State, United States and Cuba Hold Fourth Bilateral Commission Meeting in Washington, D.C. (Sept. 30, 2016).

[2] Cuba Foreign Ministry, Press release of the delegation of our country to the fourth meeting of the Cuba-US Bilateral Commission, Granma (Sept. 30, 2016)




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As a retired lawyer and adjunct law professor, Duane W. Krohnke has developed strong interests in U.S. and international law, politics and history. He also is a Christian and an active member of Minneapolis’ Westminster Presbyterian Church. His blog draws from these and other interests. He delights in the writing freedom of blogging that does not follow a preordained logical structure. The ex post facto logical organization of the posts and comments is set forth in the continually being revised “List of Posts and Comments–Topical” in the Pages section on the right side of the blog.

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