Neutral Ground

Raul Castro is offering to meet President-elect Obama. From AP

Cuban President Raul Castro said in an interview released Wednesday that he would like to meet President-elect Barack Obama on “neutral ground” — and he suggested the American naval base at Guantanamo Bay.

The Cuban leader’s offer came in a rare interview in Havana with actor-director Sean Penn, who wrote about it for the Dec. 15 edition of The Nation magazine. The article was released on the magazine’s Web site Wednesday.

Penn asked if Castro would meet with Obama in Washington. The Cuban president said he “would have to think about it,” but that it would not be fair for either leader to go to the other’s territory. Instead he suggested the base at Guantanamo.

“We must meet and begin to solve our problems, and at the end of the meeting, we could give the president a gift … we could send him home with the American flag that waves over Guantanamo Bay,” Castro said.

Raul Castro is largely seen as more pragmatic and conciliatory than his fiery older brother Fidel, and has offered to meet with U.S. officials several times since replacing his ailing sibling in mid-2006.

Guantanamo Naval Base is neutral? Obviously Raul Castro doesn’t know too many US marines.

US policy towards Cuba is stuck in the 1960’s. It is long past due for it to be revised. We had detente in the 70’s, the opening of relations, and but can’t talk to one regional nuisance? The only reason for it is politics, no one wants to antagonize the Cuban community in swing state Florida. Let them get over it, the opening of relations with Cuba would be likely to make marginal improvement in the lives of the people who live there.

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