London, July 27 (ANI): As the Castro regime marked its 59th year in power in Cuba, the ountry’s government offered to hold talks with long time enemy, the United States.
Cuban President Raul Castro in his speech during the anniversary celebrations, offered to meet with American leaders to discuss any issues they have with his government.
“Any day they want it, we will sit with them at a negotiating table,” The Telegraph quoted Castro, as saying, insisting that the conversation would go both ways.
“Equal to equal, we will also discuss subjects concerning the United States,” he added.
However, Castro made no mention of the controversial death on Sunday of one of Cuba’s most famous dissidents, Oswaldo Paya, at festivities held at Guantanamo, just a few miles from the American naval base.
Meanwhile, the United States has maintained a five-decade economic embargo on Cuba.
State Department Assistant Secretary Mike Hammer said that while the United States was willing to talk with Cuba, the Communist authorities of the country first had to ensure rights for their people.
“This administration has repeatedly stated that the U.S. government is open to forging a new relationship with Cuba, but Castro’s government must begin by allowing the Cuban people to exercise their human rights and determine their future,” Hammer said addressing a press conference.
He also slammed the “despicable” arrests of dissidents during Paya’s funeral.
“Our message is very clear to the Castro government… that they need to begin to allow the political freedoms that the Cuban people demands,” Hammer added.
Paya, an engineer and fervent Roman Catholic, was one of the first dissidents against the Castro regime to seek wholesale political and economic change, and won the European parliament’s Sakharov prize for human rights in 2002, the report said.
Castro also denounced the opposition groups and dissidents in the country, comparing them to Libyan and Syrian rebels in the “Arab Spring” and who desire to “recreate in Cuba what happened in Libya and Syria.”
July 26 marked the anniversary of the 1953 attacks that Fidel Castro and his supporters mounted against two military barracks, which although were unsuccessful, but are considered the beginning of the armed struggle that ultimately led to Fidel Castro’s seizure of power on January 1, 1959. (ANI)