“Cuba always has said that it is not going to negotiate questions inherent to the internal order of the country in exchange for a normalization of relations with Washington. We do not ask that things that we do not like about the United States be changed in order for negotiations with or travel to that country to occur. Many countries can have opinions about what is happening in another, but that cannot be used as pressure to attain certain changes. Although differences exist between our countries, better ties between us would result in benefits between both nations and both peoples. We believe that a model of civilized coexistence would be the best contribution that we can leave for the present and future generations in Cuba, the United States, and the entire region” (quoted in Gómez 2015:2).
“This first year of the new stage has demonstrated the complexity of dismantling the old schemes of the Cold War, but it has also shown that progress can be made if there is respect for the sovereignty and independence of both nations, in conditions of equality. Cuba never would accept any other conditions. During the last half century, Cuba has shown on many occasions that it is not disposed to betray the sacrifice of millions of persons, from the beginning of our heroic independence struggles until today, which has resulted in considerable improvements. . . . The path chosen is long and complex. There are eleven million persons disposed to travel it without betraying their history or their principles.”
“The President of the United States will be received by a revolutionary people with a deeply-rooted political culture, which is the result of a long tradition of struggle for its true, definitive independence, first against Spanish colonialism and later against imperialist domination by the United States; a struggle in which our best sons and daughters have shed their blood and faced all manner of risks. A people who will never renounce the defense of their principles and the vast work of the Revolution, following without vacillation the examples of Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, José Martí, Antonio Maceo, Julio Antonio Mella, Rubén Martínez Villena, Antonio Guiteras and Ernesto Che Guevara, among many others.”
“Cuba has been involved the construction of a new relationship with the United States, fully exercising its sovereignty and committed to its ideals of social justice and solidarity. No one can presume that to do so we must renounce a single one of our principles, concede an inch in their defense, or abandon what is declared in our Constitution: ‘Economic, diplomatic relations with any other state can never be negotiated under aggression, threats, or coercion by a foreign power.’ Not even the slightest doubt should be harbored with respect to Cuba’s unconditional commitment to its revolutionary and anti-imperialist ideals, and its foreign policy committed to the just causes of the world, the defense of the self-determination of peoples, and traditional support to our sister countries.”
“Cuba reaffirms its will to advance in relations with the United States, on the basis of respect for the principles and purposes of the United Nations Charter and the principles of the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, signed by the region’s heads of state and government, which include absolute respect for independence, sovereignty, and the inalienable right of every state to choose its own political, economic, social and cultural system without interference of any kind.”
Since the announcements of December 17, 2014, Cuba has persistently stated that it seeks to normalize relations with the United States, but with sovereignty (See “Cuba is and will be sovereign” 7/3/2015). And it has repeatedly stated that the normalization of relations cannot occur until the United States ceases several unjust and illegal measures taken against Cuba. Specifically, Cuba asserts that the United States must:
• End the economic, commercial and financial blockade of Cuba, which violates international law. Cuba has estimated that the blockade caused 121 billion dollars in losses to the Cuban economy from 1963 to 2000. Cuba maintains that it has had a significant impact on the economic development of Cuba.
• Return the territory occupied by the US Naval Base in Guantanamo. The United States has occupied the territory since 1903, against the will of the Cuban people (see “CELAC to USA: Return Guantanamo to Cuba” 9/7/2015).
• End programs designed to promote subversion. The programs have been administered through US diplomatic missions in Cuba, and they seek to create and support an opposition in Cuba, in violation of the Geneva Conventions that serve as guides for the conduct of diplomatic mission. They constituted an unacceptable violation of Cuban sovereignty.
• End the politically motivated radio and television transmissions into Cuba, which violate international law.
• End the “dry feet-wet feet” immigration policy, according to which Cubans who arrive on US soil are admitted immediately and automatically to the United States, without concern for the method or route used to arrive. This is a unique measure that applies to Cuban emigrants, completely different from the treatment of migrants from other nations. Cuba maintains that this policy stimulates illegal emigration from Cuba, and it also stimulates the trafficking of persons.
• End the “Program of Parole for Cuban Medical Professionals,” which encourages Cuban medical personnel to abandon Cuban missions in third countries and to emigrate to the United States, depriving the third country of necessary medical services, and depriving Cuba of necessary trained medical professionals.
• Compensate Cuba for damages caused by the blockade from 1963 to the present. In 2000, Cuba issued a formal demand for compensation in the amount of 121 billion dollars. On the other hand, US corporations and individuals have presented demands totaling 10 billion dollars for properties nationalize by the Cuban revolutionary government. Cuba would consider acceptable an agreement that takes into account both. From the outset, Cuba has offered compensation for the nationalized properties, and it has arrived at settlements with other countries whose corporations held nationalized properties in Cuba.
For Cuba, these measures are fully consistent with international laws and regulations, and they are supported by the majority of nations and peoples in the world, including the majority of the people of the United States. Cuba believes that it is time for the US president and the US Congress to take the steps that the historic moment requires.
Cuba will not compromise on its principles. It insists that its sovereignty be respected, and that the sovereignty of all nations and the dignity of all persons be respected. Accordingly, the Cuban government and the Cuban people will receive President Barack Obama with the respect that is due to the constitutionally-elected head of state of a neighboring nation.
Gómez, Sergio Alejandro. 2015. “Cuba y EE.UU. han obtenido avances, asegura Josefina Vidal,” Granma (December 17, 2015).