HAVANA, April 18th (Reuters) – Raul Castro, who is retiring from high public office, for most of his life toiled in the shadow of his older brother, Read more
HAVANA, July 16 (BY TINA NGUYEN) It’s not easy these days for former International Monetary Fund president Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Sure, he was acquitted of aggravated pimping charges, and settled a sexual-assault case filed by a New York hotel maid in 2012, but now, it’s nearly impossible to talk about the formerly powerful economist without mentioning the words “acquitted of aggravated pimping charges.”
(Nor can one forget aboutall those comments he made during his trial.) But a man’s gotta make a living, and Strauss-Kahn is no exception: according to Politico, he’s now found some lucrative work consulting for foreign governments, like Cuba’s.
He apparently advises the Cuban government on building a new post-embargo business relationship with the United States. “The choice to advise Havana . . . comes after lucrative speechwriting gigs, a consulting job with the Serbian government and a failed business venture,” Politico notes, but adds that at least former Cuban president Fidel Castro shares somewhat similar sentiments with Strauss-Kahn on the situation in Greece: the retired applauded the recent referendum, which could have led to Greece abandoning the euro, as “courage” against “external aggression.”
Strauss-Kahn, who seemingly has no desire to rebuild his career in France after he was thrown under the bus by his political enemies, now files his taxes in Morocco, and spends his time throwing shade at the current I.M.F. head for how they’ve handled the current Greek debt crisis. (He structured its first bailout in 2010, but to his credit, recentlyacknowledged that he “misdiagnosed the Greek problem,” seeing as the country is now on bailout number three.)
Though it seems as if D.S.K. will likely spend his days traipsing around warm countries and bringing their former communist economic structures into the 21st century, a French comeback could still happen: French political advisers told Politico that D.S.K. could take a behind-the-scene role during the upcoming elections, practicing the hidden arts of political consultancy.
He could also just bask in the fact that he’s more popular than current French president François Hollande, which isn’t too shabby for a man permanently shackled to the phrase “acquitted of aggravated pimping charges.”
HAVANA, July 16 (Reuters) – Cuba is prepared to break with the contentious past and peacefully coexist with the United States, Cuban President Raul Castro said on Wednesday as the two former adversaries are set to restore diplomatic ties.
“We are talking about forging a new kind of relationship between both states, different from our entire common history,” Castro, 84, told the Cuban National Assembly, according to official media.
Cuba and the United States will re-establish diplomatic relations on Monday after a 54-year break and reopen embassies in each other’s capitals.
The United States and Cuba began secret negotiations on restoring ties in mid-2013, leading to the historic announcement on Dec. 17, 2014, when Castro and U.S. President Barack Obama said they had swapped prisoners and would seek to normalize relations.
The previous deep freeze in U.S.-Cuba ties dated to Jan. 1, 1959, when rebels led by brothers Fidel and Raul Castro toppled the U.S.-backed government of Fulgencio Batista. The Castros halted the longtime U.S.-friendly business climate in Cuba and drew ever closer to the Soviet Union.
That led to a troubled history including a failed U.S.-organized invasion of Cuba by a force of exiles in 1961 and a thrust to the brink of nuclear war in 1962 over Soviet missiles stationed in Cuba.
With diplomatic ties restored, the two countries separated by 90 miles (145 km) of sea will now begin the more difficult and lengthy task of normalizing overall relations.
“The revolutionary government is willing to advance toward the normalization of relations, convinced that both countries can cooperate and coexist in a civilized, mutually beneficial way, while contributing to peace, security, stability and development,” Castro said.
Since taking over as president for his ailing brother in 2008, Raul Castro, the longtime defense minister, has proven less bellicose toward America than his brother, now 88 and retired.
Castro said completely normal relations with the United States would be impossible as long as Washington maintains its economic embargo against the island.
“We hope that (Obama) continues to use his executive authority to dismantle this policy,” Castro said.
Obama, a Democrat, has eased parts of the U.S. embargo but would need the Republican-controlled Congress to lift it completely.
Castro also said normalization would require the return to Cuban sovereignty of the U.S. naval base at Cuba’s Guantanamo Bay, although American officials have said Guantanamo is not a topic of discussion in talks with Cuba.
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