Tuesday, June 15, 2010
The United States and Cuba are scheduled to resume immigration talks on Friday, June 18 in Washington, D.C. for the first time since February. Fornally, these talks are intended to monitor the 16-year-old agreement between the U.S. and Cuba pursuant to which the U.S. issues 20,000 visas per year to Cubans. However, in the past, these talks have often been an opportunity to raise other topics besides immigration. Other informal talks between the U.S. and Cuba in the past few months have dealt with aid to Haiti and the Gulf oil spill.
In a positive sign, the Cuban government released Alan Sigler, an ailing political prisoner, last week after talks with the Catholic Church and transferred six other political prisoners to jails closer to their homes and families. From the U.S. side, one continuing sticking point is Cuba's detention since December of American contrator Alan Gross, whom the Cubans accuse of spying.