Castro hopes for meeting with Obama
The Independent UK
By David Usborne in New York
Friday, 28 November 2008
Raul Castro, the Cuban leader, has told the actor Sean Penn that he would be willing to meet Barack Obama, the President-elect, after he assumes power in the United States, although he added the encounter should take place in a "neutral location", for instance Guantanamo Bay.
"We must meet and begin to solve our problems," President Castro said during a highly unusual interview given to Mr Penn in Havana a few weeks before Mr Obama was elected. His article will be published in the 15 December issue of The Nation magazine and is already available on its website.
The purpose of such a summit, Fidel Castro's younger brother added, should be primarily to end the trade restrictions that the US has imposed on the Caribbean island since its Marxist revolution, which will be marked by 50th anniversary celebrations in January.
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Critics of American policy towards Cuba have taken heart from the election of Mr Obama, who said during his campaign that he would lift the new restrictions imposed by George Bush on exchanges with Cuba. He promised to allow Cuban-Americans to visit the island as often as they like and to send as much money as they wished to their families there.
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