US Senator Ron Wyden meets with Cuban parliamentarians

Ron Wyden, Chairman of the Finance Committee of the United States Senate, met this Thursday in Havana with Esteban Lazo, Chairman of the National Assembly of Popular Power (Anpp), as well as with other members of parliament. They valued the possibility of expanding and strengthening inter-parliamentary relations.

Both groups also highlighted the importance of the visit and agreed on the desire to expand relations based on mutual respect, according to a review note published on the official site of the Cuban Parliament.

During the meeting, which took place in the National Capitol, they discussed the potential for developing collaboration in areas of common interest, a similar message to the one that came out after the meeting between the Democratic senator and President Miguel Díaz-Canel a day before.

Esteban Lazo (left) and Ron Wyden (right) exchanged on the possibility of strengthening inter-parliamentary relations between Cuba and the United States. Photo: Taken from @AsambleaCuba

Wyden also exchanged with Ana María Mari Machado, vice president of the Cuban Parliament, about the impact of the blockade and other sanctions of the United States government on Cuba in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The senator for the state of Oregon has been particularly aware of these issues.

In 2021, Wyden, along with other Democratic congressmen, introduced legislation to end the US blockade/embargo on Cuba. Earlier, he sent a letter to Secretary of the State Department Antony Blinken and to the Joe Biden government in which they asked them to “put an end to failed and counterproductive policies” of the Trump Administration against the Island.

In that letter signed along with other colleagues, Wyden “asked to reverse the coercive measures, remove Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism and engage diplomatically with Cuba,” reports a note from Cubadebate.

During his visit to the Cuban Parliament, Ron Wyden also met with Arelys Santana Bello, head of the Anpp Commission for Attention to Youth, Children and Equal Rights for Women, and Johana Odriozola Guitart, Vice Minister of Economy and Planning, who addressed other aspects of the country’s legislative activity.

According to the Parliament’s note, Marta Hernández Romero, coordinator of the permanent work commissions of the Cuban legislature, and Johana Tablada de la Torre, deputy director general of the United States Directorate of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, participated in the meeting.

Wyden’s visit comes shortly after one by Democratic lawmakers James McGovern, Mark Pocan and Troy Anthony Carter. Previously, a bipartisan delegation from the US Congress, made up of three members of its agricultural committee, also traveled to Cuba. They met in Havana with the Cuban Vice President, Salvador Valdés, and also with deputies and producers from the Island.

Johana Tablada: “The path between Cuba and the US must be that of respectful and unconditional dialogue”

These meetings have taken place after the recent defeat of the Democrats in the legislative elections, in which they were unable to maintain control of the House – which will be under Republican control as of January – although they did retain authority in the Senate.

In addition, they take place in a context in which the Biden Administration, even though it maintains the bulk of the sanctions against the Island, has announced the elimination of some restrictions established during the term of Donald Trump. There have also been meetings between officials of both governments.

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