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French minister in Cuba as Europe seeks opening

Cuba France

HAVANA (AP) -- A French foreign minister visited Cuba for the first time in more than 30 years Saturday, traveling to the communist-run nation at a time when it is seeking to attract more foreign investment and improve ties with the European Union.

Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius met with his Cuban counterpart Bruno shortly after arriving in Havana. French officials said the trip is to promote business ties and support French companies that want to do business in Cuba.

"We want to strengthen our ties with South America and particularly with Cuba," Fabius told reporters. "Europe also wants to (strengthen ties) and from that we are going to be able to talk about economic, cultural, political and international issues."

The European Union suspended cooperation with Cuba in 2003 when the island's government jailed 75 dissidents. Dialogue was restored five years later, though it was conditioned on improvements in the human rights situation. In February, the EU's foreign ministers approved talks to negotiate a broad new political agreement with Cuba.

In brief comments to the press Saturday, Fabius noted that it was the first time in more than three decades that the chief of French diplomacy had visited the island.

Fabius arrived in Havana from Mexico, where he took part in an official visit by President Francois Hollande.

Cuban lawmakers recently approved a law aimed at making the country more attractive to foreign investors, a measure seen as vital for the island's struggling economy.

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sd69plan April 13 2014 at 11:49 AM

European countries have no balls when it comes to sanction against Russia regarding their invasion of Ukraine. America goes it along again and again. Some day Europe will call for help when their nations are once again threaten, stick it.

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1 reply
papageorgious sd69plan April 13 2014 at 1:05 PM

Yet you live in a country that trades and has relations in China. You are cool with that right?...... Got it.

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circlebprod April 13 2014 at 11:02 AM

I could understand the embargo and agreed with in in 1952, but this is 2014, lots have changed, it's time to get over it and get back to normal

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1 reply
nestalex circlebprod April 13 2014 at 10:04 PM

nothing have changed in Cuba since the 60's. same dictators, same repression, same and same!

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LLERANDI April 13 2014 at 7:19 AM

A Not-Very-Effective Embargo

Out reporter Sindulfo Vinagreta y Hunga de Vaca took the photos below during a recent trip he made to Cuba. Sindulfo traveled to Cancún, in Mexico's Yucatan peninsula, and the Cubans didn't stamped a visa in his American passport. As you will see, the horror stories of Pastors for Peace and other pro-Castro liars about the damage the U.S. embargo in imposing on Castro's Cuba have been grossly exaggerated.

Supposedly "embargoed goods' that you can buy--provided you have the dollars to do so are shown below. While legalizing U.S. dollars as a parallel currency has widened choices of scarce consumer goods, it has also begun a corrosive retreat from the classless society that Fidel Castro has trumpeted for forty years. Now, access to dollars, via emigre relatives, tourist contacts, government-sanctioned businesses or black market trading is the only way to survive in Castro's sociolist Cuba.

See for yourself.

Campbell's Soup at a dollar-only market on 70 th Street, Miramar, west of Havana.
American soda at a Havana's supermercado.
Hershey's chocolate drinks and Nabisco snacks at the Hotel Commodoro in Miramar.
Del Monte canned fruits for sale at Havana's dollar-only stores.
Lots of Pepsi-Cola al Havana's dollar-only markets that bypassed the U.S. embargo.
Kool-Aid at Hotel Commodoro in Miramar.
Kraft dairy products, Jell-o pudding, and Nabisco saltines in a Cuban dollar-only supermarket.
Heinz shrimp coctail sauce (made in Canada) at a Cuban dollar-only supermarket.
Coke and Sprite for sale in Havana.
American-made Hormel canned foods available in Havana (if you have U.S. dollars!).
Coke machine in Havana.
All major credit cards are accepted in Castro's Cuba under the U.S. embargo. Seeing is believing!
Funneled through Spanish or Canadian operating companies or 'diverted' directly from the U.S., its clear there ain't no boycott here Get your Jell-o, your Ritz crackers and Coca-Cola soft drinks, your Irish Spring deoderant soap or Hormel chili. In fact, you could literally cater an entire meal from soup (Campbells) to nuts (Planters) with several choices at each course. And, of course, an after dinner smoke? Marlboro or Winston-Salem, if you please.

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nevadan99 April 13 2014 at 11:19 AM

We won't trade with Cuba, because they are communist, right? But we will trade with China. Kind of a double standard as far as I can see.

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3 replies
swpld April 13 2014 at 8:34 AM

Iran, Cuba and Venezuela have developed a close and cooperative relationship against the U.S. and in support of terrorist groups and states. The three regimes increasingly coordinate their policies and resources in a three way partnership aimed at counteracting and circumventing U.S. policies in the Middle East and Latin America. Within this relationship, Cuba plays a strategic role in terms of geography (proximity to the U.S.), intelligence gathering (both electronic eavesdropping and human espionage) and logistics.

In addition to its proven technical prowess to interfere and intercept U.S. telecommunications, Cuba has deployed around the world a highly effective human intelligence network. The type of espionage carried out by Ana Belén Montes, the senior U.S. defense intelligence analyst who spied for Cuba during some 16 years until her arrest in 2001, has enabled the Castro regime to amass a wealth of intelligence on U.S. vulnerabilities as well as a keen understanding of the inner-workings of the U.S. security system. Such information and analysis was provided to Saddam Hussein prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq and is being provided to a strategic ally like Iran. While one may argue that factors such as Iran’s limited military capabilities and sheer distance diminish any conventional concerns, one should expect that Tehran, in case of a U.S.-Iran conflict would launch an asymmetrical offensive against the U.S. and its European allies through surrogate terrorist states and paramilitary organizations. In such a scenario, Cuban intelligence would be invaluable to Iran and its proxies and Cuban territory could be used by terrorist groups to launch operations against the U.S.

In specific terms Cuba has not abandoned its support for terrorist groups and states:

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2 replies
xht3811 swpld April 13 2014 at 9:16 AM

You are correct, but, no one cares, we live in a gutless, moral less planet, they are trading Tianamen Square underneath the smiling picture of Mao who killed Millions. Human Rights and Race are a crock, this planet SUCKS.

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Richard swpld April 13 2014 at 11:05 AM

This supposed intelligence gathering by Cubans didn't help Sadaam stop the American invasion and his own execution. Iran is negotiating with the US on its own nuclear disarmenant. Venzuela is mired down in its own failing economy but still trading with the US for what little scraps of oil revenue it can get. Cuba can't intelligence its own way out of a paper bag.

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1 reply
swpld Richard April 13 2014 at 1:04 PM

Hello RICHARD: Obviusly you are very mis informed about Cuba's intelligence aparatus... Unfortunately, they have very little rules and regs. They only focus on their mission and do what ever it takes to accomplish it.. They are very good, and they have destabalized the entire South American region. They have turned all of these countries against us... They initiated the FARC, ELN in Colombia and other groups in other countries that work hard against the USA, and our interests. They have succeded in Nicaragua, Honduras, Venezuela, Argentina, Ucuador, Uruguay, and Bolivia. America, sir, is part of planet earth and we must control our interests, especially in the countries that surround us. I think it is time that USA puts and end to these communist living right outside our door step.

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Paul FIQUET April 13 2014 at 7:01 AM

The Europeans will take advantage that the US refuses to do business with Cuba our neighbor and will profit from it while here in the US we will just set back and watch investments in business go to Europe. we trade with communist China...Vietnam...but cant make peace with our neighbors?real intelligent policy ??? plain stupid I think..

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2 replies
xht3811 Paul FIQUET April 13 2014 at 9:13 AM

Yes, but, the Left wouldn't play Sun City till Mandela was freed. The whole Human Rights Leftists in teb West are huge hypocrites, China, Vietnam, why not N'Korea? As long as the dictatorship is Communist it's OK.

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drkay2u Paul FIQUET April 13 2014 at 12:44 PM

You said it....Plain "stupid".

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edursos April 13 2014 at 3:56 AM

It's about time.

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1 reply
carolsquaw edursos April 13 2014 at 5:44 AM

It is about time, I would love to go to CUBA

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1 reply
xht3811 carolsquaw April 13 2014 at 9:11 AM

Go and live there with the rest of murderers.

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drchicago1 April 13 2014 at 11:18 AM

Deport Donald Trump to Cuba.

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jaywpb April 13 2014 at 10:15 AM

Congratulations France!! Our US policy is so bizzare and so politically misguided, in an attempt o buy Cuban votes. It's about time we tell the Cubans to shove it, we going to do what's best for the U.S. as a whole. SWe don't like their form of Government??? Oh and we like China's so well!! It's about time we get over our myopic viewpoint.

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helgamm April 13 2014 at 11:32 AM

VERY SMART MOVE !!!!! FINALLY..........

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