MADRID – Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo will travel from Bogota to Havana on Sunday bearing “very concrete messages” for the Cuban government from the U.S. administration, the daily El Pais reported.
In its Sunday edition, the Spanish newspaper, citing diplomatic sources, emphasized the “very fluid communication” between Garcia-Margallo and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
Although the sources did not reveal what the U.S. message or messages might be, the daily added that Garcia-Margallo could be tasked with transmitting to Cuba a missive related to the Summit of the Americas, which will be held in April in Panama.
Cuban President Raul Castro was invited to that summit for the first time after, at the most recent of those periodic gatherings, held in Cartagena, Colombia, in 2012, several Latin American countries including Venezuela, Ecuador and Nicaragua, had warned that they would not attend the Panama conference if Cuba were not present.
Before leaving Spain for Colombia, last Thursday the Spanish minister said that the Ibero-American Summit in Veracruz, Mexico, which will be held in early December, “is going to revolutionize” relations with Latin America and that Cuba “is going to participate” for the first time in the Summit of the Americas in Panama.
He noted, moreover, that from the international point of view the situation had changed because the stance of the European Union vis-a-vis Havana had shifted to provide the possibility of exploring an association agreement including clauses pertaining to defense of human rights on the communist island.
“When circumstances change, it’s obvious that relations have to change,” he said.
Garcia-Margallo is the first member of the government of Mariano Rajoy to visit the Caribbean island, where, the daily reported, he is scheduled to meet with officials involved in the negotiations between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia guerrillas, or FARC, which have been under way in Havana since November 2012.
Those talks have been suspended by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos until the FARC releases several hostages, including Gen. Ruben Dario Alzate, three other soldiers and a civilian.