U.S. senators tour, speak with officials
Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) said Saturday that Cuba is making progress on reform, but much remains to be done, including opening a U.S. embassy. “Obviously, we still have differences, but I look forward to the United States being able to have a real embassy here,” he said a news conference at a hotel in central Havana.
Leahy was leading a bipartisan delegation to the island to meet with top government officials, business leaders, diplomats and Cuban citizens to measure the pace of economic and social change, and to determine the status of talks on detente more than five decades after ties were broken off. The two countries have been negotiating the reestablishment of embassies following the Dec. 17 announcement that they would move to restore ties, but six months later no agreement has been reached.
Also on the delegation were Sens. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) and Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.). Cardin said the delegation made clear to Cuban officials that the path to normalization must include dealing with thorny issues where the United States and Cuba have serious disagreements, such as human rights.