Anchor Marco Werman speak with the BBC's Michael Voss in Havana about a statement by Cuban leader Raul Castro that Cuba is ready to talk with the United States.
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MARCO WERMAN: The BBC's Michael Voss is in Havana. Michael, what's being said there about the Summit of the America's in Trinidad and Tobago this weekend? Sounds like Cuba is gonna be a big focus of attention at the meeting.
MICHAEL VOSS: And Cuba is well aware of that, but every leader in the region has publicly stated that they want to see an end to the trade embargo, so I think the feeling in Cuba is that President Barack Obama will be under pressure from other leaders to make further moves toward Cuba. A very interesting moment, this; we had the Obama administration at the beginning of the week lifting restrictions on Cuban-Americans visiting relatives in Cuba and sending money home. But then President Obama said; now it's up to Cuba to make the next move. And right after that Raul Castro, who was at a summit in Venezuela, gave a really important speech, and he said, Cuba is willing to sit down and talk to the United States about anything. And he specifically said about human rights, about political prisoners, about freedom of the press, providing there are no preconditions, providing the two countries talk as equals. So, I think that there is a momentum building here. We've just heard that secretary of state Clinton has responded favorably; welcoming these comments by Raul Castro.
WERMAN: So, what's the chat like in Havana after Raul Castro's comments yesterday that, kind of, everything is on the table? How surprising is this for Cubans?
VOSS: It's not the first time that he said he is willing to talk to the United States. That's not new. I've heard him say that at least three or four times over the last two years. But to actually lay out on the table this list of things that he is prepared to discuss, that is new. I mean, it's been well received. I've been talking to people on the street this morning and they say times are changing, it's really positive; both what Raul is doing, both what Obama's doing.
WERMAN: Cuba won't be at the Summit of the Americas. They've been excluded for years. So, what will the next play be in this diplomatic tennis game between Washington and Havana? Do you think that news, big news, will be made this weekend in Trinidad and Tobago?
VOSS: It's very difficult to say. There are certain things that President Obama can do on his own by congressional decree such as the lifting of the travel restrictions earlier in the week. But the trade embargo itself needs an act of congress and that's going to be difficult, so there's nothing he can do there. I mean, there are steps. It's possible that the United States could say that it wouldn't oppose Cuba being readmitted to membership of the organization of American States. Although, we still have this thing that, you know, it needs to make moves toward democracy before it can be readmitted. It's also possible this whole thing could take off very quickly and that at some point in the not too distant future the two sides do sit down at a negotiating table.
WERMAN: The BBC's Michal Voss speaking with us from Havana. Thanks very much for your time, Michael.