Is Cuba Reaching Out to US to Distract from Murder?
A Roman Catholic nun holds a portrait of Cuban opponent leader Oswaldo Paya during his funeral on July 24, 2012 at Cristobal Colon cemetery in Havana. Paya, a winner of the Sakharov human rights prize who challenged the island's communist regime for decades, died in a car accident on July 22, 2012. (ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/Getty Images)
August 3, 2012
| Security
| The Americas
Cuban President Raul Castro said last week he would welcome discussions with the United States as long as the talks were “between equals.” As positive as his comment appeared on the surface, it represents no real change in the position of the Castro government, which continues to deny its people the most basic human rights. Castro’s real aim may have been to distract from the mysterious death of dissident Oswaldo Paya, as LIGNET explains.

Despite the new flurry of conciliatory talk from Havana, LIGNET expects no significant change in the relationship between the two countries in the near term given Cuba’s refusal to release U.S. government contractor Alan Gross and expand human rights, both of which are sticking points in normalizing relations.

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