The president of the United States, Barack Obama, today told his Cuban counterpart, Raul Castro, that “it was time to try something new” in relation to Cuba, during the historic meeting they held in Panama under the framework of the Summit of the Americas.
It is the first time in half a century that the presidents of the two countries have met.
For his part, Raul Castro assured the US president that “we are willing to talk about everything, but with patience,” in the process towards normalization of bilateral relations.
Moments before the start of the meeting, Obama explained that “The history between the United States and Cuba is complicated,” and, “We are now in a position to move on a path toward the future.” He immediately said that the majority of Americans and Cubans had “responded positively” to the process of reestablishing relations, announced last December 17.
The US president confirmed that there are “profound differences” between to two countries. “We are willing to talk about everything. The United States will defend democracy and human rights and Cuba will put on their table their concerns with respect to US policy, as Mr. Castro did during his speech,” Obama emphasized during a press conference immediately after the meeting.
Obama went further and ventured that, “And over time, it is possible for us to turn the page and develop a new relationship between our two countries.”
The two leaders met in room at the Atlapa Convention Center where, on Friday, the Summit of the Americas got underway, and where Saturday’s sessions have transpired.
The meeting began after the photo session of all the presidents who participated in the hemispheric forum in which Cuba is participating for the first time.