Raul cas­tro meets north korea min­is­ter amid hope of de­fused ten­sions

The Sunday Guardian - - World - REUTERS

HA­VANA: Cuban Pres­i­dent Raul Cas­tro met with North Korean For­eign Min­is­ter Ri Yong Ho on Fri­day amid hopes the Com­mu­nist-run is­land might be able to con­vince its Asian ally to avert a show­down with the United States. Cuba has main­tained close diplo­matic ties with North Korea since 1960 but is op­posed to nu­clear weapons. “In the brotherly en­counter, both sides com­mented on the his­toric friend­ship be­tween the two na­tions and talked about in­ter­na­tional top­ics of mu­tual in­ter­est,” Cuban state tele­vi­sion said on its mid­day broad­cast. Ri met his Cuban coun­ter­part Bruno Ro­driguez this week and the min­is­ters de­nounced US “uni­lat­eral and ar­bi­trary lists and des­ig­na­tions” that led to “co­er­cive mea­sures con­trary to in­ter­na­tional law”, ac­cord­ing to Cuba’s for­eign min­istry. The min­is­ters called for “re­spect for peo­ples’ sovereignty” and the “peace­ful set­tle­ment of dis­putes”, ac­cord­ing to a min­istry state­ment. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has in­creased pres­sure on Cuba since tak­ing of­fice, rolling back a de­tente be­gun by his pre­de­ces­sor Barack Obama and re­turn­ing to the hos­tile rhetoric of the Cold War. North Korea and Cuba are the last coun­tries in the world to main­tain Soviet-style com­mand economies.

“Salaries are the same, food is al­ways get­ting more ex­pen­sive and now we have Trump tight­en­ing the em­bargo.” tional mourn­ing. A fu­neral cortege car­ried his ashes on a three-day jour­ney from Ha­vana to his fi­nal rest­ing place in the east of the is­land, where he had launched the Cuban rev­o­lu­tion.

“I am Fidel” be­came a na- tion­wide chant, as many Cubans pledged to stay faith­ful to the rev­o­lu­tion he led that in 1959 over­threw a U.S.-backed dic­ta­tor.

“He was the best we’ve had as a leader,” said Rene Perez, a Ha­vana taxi driver, echo­ing

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