Monday, February 20, 2023

Reasons for Hope (from John McAuliff)

Will we finally turn a corner on US-Cuba relations?

With the caveat that I am prone to see an overflowing glass where others see a bit of dew on the bottom,  there are encouraging signs, not counting the impact of the appointment of Senator Chris Dodd as advisor to the President on Latin America. 

1)  The inconclusive dialogue in the State Department press briefinga on January 13 and 18  about whether the US delegation that visited Havana to discuss cooperation on legal issues was inconsistent with listing Cuba as a State Sponsor of Terrorism (or preparatory to removing it).

2)  Senator Ron Wyden reinvigorated his attack on the embargo after his late December visit to Cuba.  He put special emphasis on a partial lifting that would enable the private sector.

3)  The very positive and wide ranging visit in late January by Delaware's Secretary of State and Secretary of Agriculture seems unlikely if there had been objection by the state's most powerful political figure and long time Senator who is now the President.

(We will hear more about the trip from Paul Johnson.)

4)  The appeal to Cuba's leaders by a high level envoy of the Pope to amnesty July 11-12 prisoners, potentially laying groundwork for a Papal Visit.  ttps://

5)  Reaffirmation by the head of the US Interests Section that their release is a necessary step to change US policy.  (Cuba will never concede that to the US, but a response to the Pope is a different matter.)

6)  President Biden's C-Span recorded comment to Senator Menendez
"Bob, I gotta talk to you about Cuba...I'm serious"

7)  Fabiola Santiago's freak out that Biden may make big changes in US policy

8)  Lula's meeting with Biden; Pres. Obredor's pledge to lead a new campaign against the embargo.

9)  Richard Branson calls for change in both US and Cuban policy, not always accurate and with a history of accommodating US policy shifts, most dramatically during the Trump/Bolton assault on Venezuela

10)  International visitors increased substantially in January.  US numbers are presumably still way down but this upbeat story of a Troy University faculty led trip is encouraging.

11)  "Humanitarian parole" is taking pressure off the migration crisis, reducing risk and removing profit from human traffficking.

12) An upbeat change of pace, a CNN story about the renewal of musical exchange, although the reporter overlooks Cuba's rich classical tradition manifested by the National Symphony, Camarata Romeu, Ars Longa, etc.



Addendum 3/3/23

Cuba is changing because it needs to change.

The question is whether it adopts the Russian oligarchic model of economic and social development or the more open Vietnamese one.

Supporters of both positions  within the Communist Party are in increasingly visible conflict. 

It is in the interest of both the Cuban and US people that the Vietnamese path is taken.

The counter-revolutionary path favored by dissidents, Miami exiles and some in Washington is not viable in any conceivable peaceful scenario.

For better or for worse, the Cuban state was created and is sustained by a completely national force not imposed from outside.  The core of its legitimacy is sovereignty and resistance to US and exile economic and political domination.  However its prosperity, if not survival, depends on a rational mutually respectful relationship with both.

Holding out for US and exile imagined pre-revolutionary democracy makes it more likely that the Russian model will win.     


Posted on the White House contact form

March 17, 2023

Dear Mr. President,

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Discover Irish and Irish American links to Cuba here

It may surprise you that many Cubans look at the US in the way many Irish look at Britain.  Both see a history of political dominance and economic exploitation by their large inescapable neighbor.

Chris Dodd should bring you a Good Friday Agreement with Havana.

John McAuliff
Fund for Reconciliation and Development

Second post to the White House contact form:

Dear Mr. President,

More thoughts for a fulfilling celebration of St. Patrick's Day in the spirit of Father Felix Varela, the advocate for independence, anti-slavery and equal education for women who "taught the Cubans to think" and was the much loved defender of Irish immigrants in New York.

To supplement my earlier message about the Cuba-US, Ireland-England comparison, here's the positive side.

I recognize and welcome the equally inherent positive relationship of neighbors; the cultural, psychological, religious, intellectual and familial links; the occupational flow of temporary or permanent migration.  A normal level of economic integration is inevitable and beneficial.

Undeniably the solution of political conflicts based on mutual respect, most notably by the more to the less powerful, opens many doors.

While some Irish people remain cautious about British attitudes and ambitions, the achievement of independence and the Good Friday peace agreement, even if the country is still divided because of England, created more open and natural ties.

If the US approached Cuba the way we do Viet Nam, with critical but nonintrusive recognition of differences about political systems and human rights practices, and ended unilateral hostile policies like the trade embargo and State Sponsor of Terrorism designation, identification of common interests and our influence will grow substantially. 

Opportunities provided to hostile competitors will also diminish significantly.

John McAuliff
Fund for Reconciliation and Development


[ For greater success, US policymakers should consider the latest cross-cultural insights from sociologist and Temas editor Rafael Hernandez ]

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Papal Appeal for Release of July 2021 Prisoners


Pope seeks release of Cubans arrested during 2021 protests

Published:Wednesday | February 8, 2023 | 9:16 PM
Cuban President Miguel Diaz Canel (right) talks with Cardinal Beniamino Stella during a ceremony marking the 25th anniversary of St Paul II's apostolic journey to Cuba, at Havana University in Havana, Cuba, Wednesday, February 8, 2023. Stella arrived in Cuba as Pope Francis’ special envoy on January 24. (Adalberto Roque/Pool photo via AP)

HAVANA (AP) — Pope Francis hopes Cuban authorities will release and grant amnesty to people arrested and sentenced after the historic protests that took place in 2021, Cardinal Beniamino Stella, who travelled to the island as the pontiff's special envoy, said Wednesday.

During an act at the University of Havana to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Pope John Paul II's visit to the island, Cardinal Stella also said the Catholic Church hopes that Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel and US President Joe Biden can hold talks amid current tense relations between the countries.

Stella, who arrived in Cuba in mid-January and will remain there until February 10, recalled the figures of Father Félix Varela and José Martí, considered national heroes in Cuba, and emphasised the need for understanding among Cubans.

Asked by journalists about the possibility the Catholic Church could intercede to have Cuban authorities grant amnesty to people imprisoned during the 2021 protests, the first in decades on the island, Stella said he had talked with the pontiff about the issue before the trip to Cuba.

According to non-governmental groups, about 1,300 people were arrested following the protests.

Some of the demonstrations turned violent, including looting and rioting, and one person was killed.

Authorities reported about 700 sentences handed down related to the protests, with sentences ranging from a fine and community work to up to 30 years in prison for sedition.

Senator Wyden Urges Real US Support for Private Sector

 March 15, 2023

The Honorable Joseph R. Biden

President of the United States

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Biden:

The U.S. embargo against Cuba has failed. It has neither facilitated regime change, nor advanced

any notable improvements in human rights, democracy or economic freedom in Cuba. Instead, 

the embargo has limited the U.S. government’s ability to advocate for U.S. interests in Cuba, 

stifled opportunities for American businesses, farmers and ranchers, and hurt both Americans 

and Cubans in Cuba. 

Small, private sector Cuban entrepreneurs have been clamoring for access to capital that could 

help their businesses thrive, support private sector employment, and make it less likely Cubans 

seek to migrate to the United States due to lack of hope for a better future. Rather than continue 

the failed policy of broad-based sanctions, your Administration should undertake efforts to 

increase economic exchange between the United States and the Cuban people. This should 

include risk-based, targeted efforts, including narrow changes to U.S. licensing and regulations, 

to support Cuba’s small and medium-sized private enterprises in accessing U.S. financial 

services to legitimate the Cuban private sector and facilitate its growth. Easing restrictions on 

trade and travel will also increase demand for U.S. commodities and make it easier for U.S. 

exporters to reach the Cuban market, benefiting American workers, farmers, ranchers, and 

businesses that comprise the thriving U.S. export sector. In addition, increased trade and 

investment from the United States will provide an important counterbalance to funds offered by 

China, which has shown an increasing interest in the island nation’s finances. As the 

Administration seeks to increase economic ties with Cuba’s private sector, however, it must 

exercise proper care and oversight to guard against money laundering or support of the Cuban 


We understand that the Administration supports changes to U.S.-Cuba policy, and we appreciate 

the steps the Administration has already taken to improve relations with Cuba. That said, the 

United States can, and should, do more. We urge you to swiftly take the following steps to ease 

restrictions on private-sector financing, trade, communication and travel with Cuba: 

Support Small, Private-Sector Cuban Businesses by Providing Targeted Access to U.S. 

Financial Services

● Assess the extent to which the Cuban government controls banks in Cuba and explore a 

licensing framework allowing transactions between U.S. financial institutions and Cuban 

banks that have been determined to be civilian-managed; 

● Establish a targeted Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) license to allow U.S. banks

to provide financial services to small, private sector Cuban businesses, potentially 

through Cuban banks, with appropriate risk management controls to prevent the flow of 

funds to entities controlled by the Cuban government. The licensing regime should 

include both payments activity and microfinancing of the private sector in Cuba, 

including agricultural cooperatives; 

● Reinstate OFAC general licenses for U.S. financial institutions to process “U-turn” 

transactions—transactions between Cuban and non-U.S. persons that pass through the 

U.S. financial system; 

Increase Trade in Food and Agricultural Products Between the U.S. and Cuba 

● Encourage the Cuban government to end its requirement that all imports from the United 

States be facilitated through a Cuba state entity. This requirement is not imposed on all of

Cuba’s trading partners, creating a competitive disadvantage for U.S. farmers and 

ranchers relative to other exporting countries; 

● Foster further collaboration between the U.S. and Cuban agriculture sectors by improving

and revitalizing existing Memoranda of Understanding between the U.S. Department of 

Agriculture (USDA) and Cuba’s Ministry of Agriculture; 

● Work with stakeholders to encourage the use of USDA’s Market Access Program (MAP)

and Foreign Market Development (FMD) Program funds, authorized by the 2018 Farm 

Bill, to educate U.S. farmers and ranchers and facilitate the export of U.S. agricultural 

commodities to the Cuban market;

Support Access to Information and Person-to-Person Contact in Cuba

● Publish specific regulations and/or guidance to support internet access in Cuba, which 

would facilitate access to e-commerce and the free flow of information and 

communication across Cuba and between the U.S. and Cuba; 

● Publish guidance to allow U.S.-based firms to provide cloud-based services, fee-based 

platforms, e-commerce services and digital banking in Cuba, with appropriate risk 

management controls; 

● Reinstate OFAC general licenses for individual person-to-person educational travel; and

● Reinstate OFAC general licenses for participation in, or organization of, public 

performances, clinics, workshops, athletic or nonathletic competitions, and exhibitions in 


To be clear, we continue to have serious concerns about the Cuban government’s repression of 

peaceful, pro-democracy advocacy. We strongly support your Administration’s efforts to hold 

the Cuban government accountable for violations of human rights, civil rights and worker rights, 

including forced labor. That said, unilateral sanctions have not brought about democratic change.

In contrast, they have arguably strengthened the Cuban government’s hand by acting as a readily 

available scapegoat for the Cuban government’s own political and economic failures. We believe

that the thoughtful, targeted lifting of restrictions on trade and travel with Cuba would facilitate 

the development of a thriving private sector and increase the pressure on Cuba’s leaders to be 

more responsive to the Cuban people, while also increasing U.S. influence on the island. 

We thank you for considering these requests and look forward to working with you to improve 

U.S.-Cuba relations for the benefit of the American and Cuban people. 


Ron Wyden

United States Senator

Cynthia M. Lummis

United States Senator

Chris Van Hollen

United States Senator

cc: Secretary Blinken 

Secretary Vilsack

Secretary Yellen

Secretary Raimondo


Wyden: Cuban Private Sector Small Businesses Should Get Strong U.S. Support

Following Fact-Finding Trip to Cuba, Wyden Renews Call to Normalize Trade Relations; Wyden Raised Need to Improve Human Rights In Meeting with Cuban President

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., is calling on the Biden Administration to strengthen support for Cuba’s small and medium-sized private enterprises by creating more general licenses, as well as giving the private sector access to international banking, following his fact-finding trip to Cuba. Wyden, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee and was the first Senator to visit Cuba in four years, intends to discuss his ideas with Senate colleagues over the weeks ahead. 

“During my visit to Cuba I was told by entrepreneurs that the vibrant Cuban private sector would benefit from narrow changes to U.S. licensing and other rules,” Wyden said. “Specifically, the entrepreneurs told me that general licenses, allowing them to operate in spite of the sanctions, would bring legitimacy and credibility to them and their businesses. They told me they expected these changes to lead to the creation of thousands of new businesses. In addition, they said bank accounts would make it easier to attract investment capital, and knowing that I authored the U.S. e-commerce law, they requested that I assist with their e-commerce initiatives.” 

Wyden believes the U.S. rule changes would benefit private sector Cuban companies, and developing Cuban economic opportunities would help reduce Cuban migration to the United States. He believes a growing middle class of entrepreneurs and family businesses will lay the foundations for fundamental political and economic reforms in one of our closest neighbors.  The senator also saw growing involvement by China in the Cuban economy, which can present national security as well as economic security concerns for Americans.

In addition to Wyden’s work on these new small business proposals, the senator continued his ongoing efforts to build support for three of his long-standing priorities – ending the economic embargo, normalizing U.S.-Cuban trade relations and removing Cuba’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism – while emphasizing the need to improve human and worker rights in the country. In a meeting on December 28, 2022, Senator Wyden urged Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel to offer clemency for the July 2021 Cuban protestors.

On his last day in Cuba, January 1, 2023, the senator visited with Miguel Calderon Gomez, the famous former coach of the Cuban national basketball team, to discuss how basketball and sports can contribute to better relations between nations. Calderon Gomez also reminisced with Wyden about how the United States “Dream Team” beat the Cuban squad he coached 30 years ago in Portland, Oregon, before the Barcelona Olympics.

Wyden is the sponsor of legislation to end the trade embargo of Cuba, and last year urged the Biden-Harris administration to reverse Donald Trump’s failed Cuba policies. He last visited Cuba in 2018, as part of a Senate delegation.

Delaware State Officials Positive Visit


State of Delaware seeks to strengthen its relations with Cuba

This week an American delegation met on the island with authorities from various ministries and state entities, and also learned about the experience of new private companies.

by avatar photoOnCuba Writing

 January 27, 2023

in Cuba-USA

The Secretaries of State and Agriculture of the state of Delaware (USA), Jeffrey Bullock (d) and Michael Scuse, during a press conference in Havana.  Photo: Ernesto Mastrascusa / EFE.

The Secretaries of State and Agriculture of the state of Delaware (USA), Jeffrey Bullock (d) and Michael Scuse, during a press conference in Havana. Photo: Ernesto Mastrascusa / EFE.


A delegation from Delaware (USA), headed by the state secretaries of State and Agriculture, is visiting Cuba these days with the intention of exploring trade and cooperation opportunities with the island.

Throughout this week, the US delegation has met with Cuban authorities from ministries such as agriculture and foreign trade and foreign investment, as well as the Foreign Ministry, while visiting institutions such as the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology ( CIGB) and has also known the experience of new private companies.

The objective of the trip is to strengthen relations between their state and the island, and "find ways to improve the lives of people in Cuba and Delaware," as explained Thursday at a press conference by the leaders of the visiting delegation, who qualified of "fantastic" the experience.

Although for the moment it is an exploratory visit, the Delaware delegation appreciated the opportunity to learn first-hand about the current situation in Cuba and, in particular, the changes experienced in recent years in its economic functioning.

Based on what was seen, they recognized opportunities to increase agricultural trade with Cuba and to collaborate in sectors such as education and research, according to the Secretary of Agriculture, Michael Scuse, who pointed out that the potential for bilateral exchange "is greater now than Never before".

In this sense, and in response to a question from OnCuba on the subject, Scuse pointed out that the emergence of private companies in Cuba "is definitely a great step both for the government and for the Cuban people in general, and deserves to be taken into account." in the United States” when establishing businesses and collaborations with the island.

For his part, the Secretary of State, Jeffrey Bullock, commented that, upon his return to his country, they will study ways to materialize these opportunities and will advocate for closer ties between the two countries, which experienced a notable setback with the arrival of Donald Trump in the White House and they have not returned to the level expected after the election of Democrat Joe Biden.

Biden and Cuba, the good and the bad… these days

In addition, Bullock thanked the "warm and kind" reception by the Cuban authorities and acknowledged being impressed "by how sincere and how direct the Cuban officials were in our conversations."

“They referred to practical issues, aimed at solving specific problems, step by step, which helps a lot for people like me, who work at the state level, to start thinking about how we can find a way to materialize the existing opportunities and give a next step”, he replied to OnCuba .

In this sense, the Delaware authorities said that with the possible exchanges and projects that they can carry out with Cuba they hope to contribute to strengthening bilateral relations, and expressed their hope that "sooner rather than later" both countries can return to the "thaw" reached. in the final years of Barack Obama's term.

"Our hope is that eventually we can return to where we were in Obama's time," said Scuse, who hoped that "at least" gradual steps in this direction would be achieved and the latest sanctions imposed on the island by the Trump government.

In this regard, he recognized that Cuba's permanence on the list of countries considered to be sponsors of terrorism is a serious difficulty for relations between the two countries and also for projects that can be undertaken from the state of Delaware, because "it does everything a bit more difficult".

He reiterated that the biggest obstacle to strengthening bilateral ties is "political", "the same one for 60 years", and said that "this is the barrier that we have to try to break down."

The visit of the Delaware delegation to Cuba takes place at a time when the island is going through a severe economic crisis and a strong wave of migration, and after some steps of bilateral rapprochement have been taken since last year and exchanges have taken place between authorities of the two countries.


State Department Press Briefings 2023

Department Press Briefing – January 4, 2023

QUESTION: Switching topics. Cuba. The embassy I believe today resumed visa operations for immigrants. What does this say both – does this have any implications more broadly for relations with Cuba? And also, what does it say about Havana Syndrome – so-called Havana Syndrome that was the original reason for reducing staff levels there? Is there a perception that there’s no longer the same threat level, at least in Havana?

MR PRICE: A couple things on this. So as you mentioned, starting today, the U.S. Embassy in Havana is processing all immigrant visa categories in addition to current services provided in Cuba, which include American citizen services as well as official diplomatic and emergency non-immigrant visas. This is a significant step in the restoration of consular services in Havana. It means all Cuban immigrant visa applicants scheduled for interviews starting this month will no longer have to travel to Georgetown, Guyana, where processing was taking place. Immigrant visa applicants whose appointments were originally scheduled in Georgetown, Guyana must still complete case processing in Guyana. Those cases will not be transferred to Cuba, but going forward new cases will be processed from our embassy in Havana.

The embassy began expanding consular services in May of 2022 by expanding immigrant visas for parents of U.S. citizens, and in July of 2022 expanded to include all other categories of immediate relatives – relative immigrant visas, including spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens as well. Additionally, in August of last year DHS resumed processing cases in Havana under the Cuban Family Reunification Program. The – we remain committed to facilitating the safe, orderly, and regular migration of Cuban citizens to the United States.

To the first part of your question, what this speaks to when it comes to our broader approach to Cuba, I think it makes real what we have consistently said that we seek to find practical ways to support the Cuban people. As I said just a moment ago, this visa processing, much of it is directed in very practical ways to support the Cuban people, including through family reunification. That has been a focus of our visa processing since the start of this administration. It will continue to be a focus now.

When it comes to anomalous health incidents, we have reviewed our staffing posture at our embassy in Havana at the direction of the President, and we’re exploring options to augment staffing to facilitate diplomatic, consular, and civil society engagement with an appropriate security posture, as we do around the world. Our top priority remains the health of – and safety of U.S. citizens overseas, including of course our diplomats and their family members, and we’re working to get to the bottom of anomalous health incidents and to provide top-notch care and support to everyone affected.

The investigation into what has caused these incidents and how we can protect our people is ongoing. And this represents a major effort that is underway within the interagency – among the White House, the Defense Department, Intelligence Community, as well as Congress and leading scientists, all with the input of the State Department, of course.

So the fact that we have been able to augment our staffing posture at our embassy in Havana is a signal that we are confident in our ability to mitigate the risks, confident in our ability to take prudent steps to protect our people. But this is something we evaluate and re-evaluate on a – virtually a daily basis.

QUESTION: Just briefly, you say you’re confident about the – the State Department is confident about the ability to mitigate the risk, in the sense that it’s not – there’s not seen as a particular risk in Havana from anomalous health incidents as opposed to other places?

MR PRICE: Well, diplomacy is never a risk-free endeavor, and our goal— is never a risk-free endeavor.

QUESTION: What? Oh, “risk-free.” I thought you said “risky endeavor.”

MR PRICE: Yes. Yes, it is never a risk-free endeavor. And our intention is never to eliminate risk, because we know that’s impossible. Our goal is to mitigate risk, and to conduct our operations responsibly, safely, taking into account all of the prudent precautions that are necessary in posts around the world. And that’s what we’re doing here.

QUESTION: But you’re – but just to be specific as to this, you’re looking to add people, not reduce people, to Havana?

MR PRICE: Over the course of the last year, we have —

QUESTION: No, I know, but now, from now —

MR PRICE: Yes, we have added people, and as we restart this visa processing out of our embassy in Havana, our intention, our hope will be to add people so we can expand those services that we’re able to provide from Havana.



Department Press Briefing – January 13, 2023

QUESTION: Can I ask a question on Cuba?


QUESTION: There’s a high-level delegation that’s going to be visiting Cuba soon, U.S. delegation. Does that indicate that maybe relations with Cuba is becoming more normalized or we’re on the cusp of normalized relations with Cuba?

MR PATEL: Are you speaking about the law enforcement —

QUESTION: Law enforcement, international law and all that stuff.

MR PATEL: Yeah, sure, sure.

QUESTION: But I’m sure that they will probably discuss —

MR PATEL: Said, let me – if you’ll let me offer some broader thoughts. So to – for those that might be tracking, U.S. and Cuban officials will meet as part of the U.S.-Cuba Law Enforcement Dialogue in Havana next week to discuss topics of bilateral interest on international law enforcement matters, increased international law enforcement cooperation, and this is an opportunity to enable the U.S. to better protect U.S. citizens and bring transnational criminals to justice.

The Departments of State, Justice, and Homeland Security will co-chair the dialogue for the United States. And broadly speaking, Said, to your question, improved law enforcement coordination between the United States and Cuba is in the best interest in the United States and the Cuban people. And during the dialogue, the U.S. and Cuba will address topics of bilateral interest.



QUESTION: I had a follow-up on the question on Cuba.


QUESTION: So you said that this meeting on law enforcement issues is in the best interest of the United States. Would you consider that it would be now in the best interests of the United States to actually normalize relations with Cuba?

And then second, so there’s this meeting on law enforcement issues, criminality, transnational, etc., but the United States still has Cuba on the supporting terrorism list, on its list of supporting – states supporting terrorism. How do you justify having that meeting in Cuba while the country is still on your official list of sponsoring terrorism?

MR PATEL: Can you repeat the second part of your question, Leon? Sorry.

QUESTION: Basically how do you justify having this kind of meeting on specifically law enforcement issues in general while at the same time keeping the country on the terrorism list?

MR PATEL: Well, Leon, there continue to be, obviously, concerns and human rights concerns that exist. But I would say broadly, to widen the aperture a little bit, Leon, following the large-scale protests that we saw last summer, President Biden directed the department to act in two primary areas. The first was to promote accountability for human rights abuses, for which we have announced previously several rounds of sanctions targeting those individuals and entities with direct ties to human rights violations.

Specifically within the context of these – this dialogue, let me see if I have some more information for you. But as I said, engaging in these talks underscores our commitment to pursuing constructive discussions with the Government of Cuba where appropriate to advance U.S. interests.

Our belief is, is that establishing and increasing channels for law enforcement cooperation to better address transnational threats is not at the expense of the serious human rights concerns that we continue to have. And we’ve integrated these human rights concerns and protections into all of our interactions with the Cuban Government.

QUESTION: Vedant, isn’t the real answer that this administration does not agree with the previous administration’s determination to put Cuba back on the SSOT list, and that you’ve been looking for a way to take them off since —

MR PATEL: I don’t have any —

QUESTION: — coming into office —

MR PATEL: I don’t have any update to offer that —

QUESTION: — and therefore, that a law enforcement dialogue is not inappropriate, given what you believe is —

MR PATEL: Oh, a law enforcement dialogue is not inappropriate for a variety of reasons, including the ones that I just outlined.



department Press Briefing – January 19, 2023


QUESTION: I have a last one on Cuba. Since United States is having contact with the Cuban regime, is this administration thinking in withdraw Cuba from the list of countries supporting terrorism?

MR PATEL: I have no change in policy to announce. I addressed this a little bit last week; the engagements that you’re referring to were specifically related to some security dialogues, regional security dialogues. I don’t have any other updates to offer beyond that.