U.S.-Cuba Relations Could Advance in Panama


According to media reports, a high-profile delegation from the United States will attend the inauguration of Panamanian President-elect Juan Carlos Varela on July 1. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson, Ambassador to Panama Jonathan Farrar and Massachusetts state Gov. Deval Patrick will attend. Although political delegations to presidential inaugurations are routine, the likely presence of a Cuban delegation at the event provides the opportunity for contact between Cuban and U.S. diplomats. The inclusion of a high-ranking official like Kerry suggests that substantive talks between Cuba and the United States may occur at the event. Such talks would almost certainly discuss the political negotiations with Cuba proposed by U.S. President Barack Obama.

The likelihood of such interaction has increased since the United States made clear its intention to explore the possibility of improving political relations with Cuba. The United States indirectly…

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