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Cablegate: Jamaica/Cuba: Pm Golding's Visit to Havana; Bilateral

VZCZCXRO1831
PP RUEHGR
DE RUEHKG #0414/01 1331338
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 121338Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY KINGSTON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6321
INFO RUCNCOM/EC CARICOM COLLECTIVE
RUEHUB/USINT HAVANA 0101
RUMIAAA/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KINGSTON 000414

SIPDIS, SENSITIVE

STATE FOR WHA/CAR (JOE TILGHMAN)
WHA/CCA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL OVIP EIND SOCI SNAR KPAO JM CU XL
SUBJECT: JAMAICA/CUBA: PM GOLDING'S VISIT TO HAVANA; BILATERAL
COOPERATION TO CONTINUE, RENEWED CALL FOR END OF U.S. EMBARGO,
CONSTRUCTIVE U.S. ENGAGEMENT

REF: (A) KINGSTON 219 (121200Z MAR 08)
(B) KINGSTON 364 (291558Z APR 08)
(C) KINGSTON 387 (051946Z MAY 08) (NOTAL)

Summary
-------

1.(SBU) During a three-day visit to Havana, Prime Minister (PM)
Bruce Golding:

(A) signed framework agreements for bilateral cooperation in the
areas of agriculture, health, tourism, water resources, and
housing;

(B) reiterated his call for lifting of the U.S. embargo, and for
constructive U.S. engagement with Cuba (reftel A);

(C) sought to assure the Cubans that, under his Jamaica Labour Party
(JLP) Government, longstanding bilateral cooperation would
continue.
End Summary.

2.(SBU) Prime Minister (PM) Bruce Golding, accompanied by Mrs.
Golding, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and
Foreign Trade Ken Baugh, Minister of Tourism Ed Bartlett, Minister
of Health Ruddy Spencer, Minister of Water and Housing Horace Chang,
and Minister of Agriculture Chris Tufton, visited Havana May 5 - 7.
This was the largest government delegation to leave the country
since Golding's Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) took office in September,
2007. The PM is believed to be the first Caribbean leader to have
an official face-to-face meeting with Raul Castro since he assumed
the Presidency. They reportedly met at the Palace of the
Revolution, followed by a wreath-laying ceremony at the Jose Marti
monument. The delegation also reportedly visited two eye surgery
hospitals in which many Jamaicans receive treatment, the Information
Sciences University, and a green house agricultural complex.

Agriculture, health, tourism, water resources, and housing
agreements
--------------------------------------------- -----

3.(SBU) The Jamaican delegation signed framework agreements for
bilateral cooperation in the areas of agriculture, health, tourism,
water resources, and housing. Speaking on the afternoon of May 5,
Golding reportedly said that "one of the areas to be explored is the
possibility of multiple destination marketing where visitors can
purchase a package through which they could spend some time in
Jamaica and some time in Cuba." Details of the tourism agreement
reportedly will be worked out by Bartlett with his Cuban
counterpart. In agriculture, cooperation reportedly is envisioned
in greenhouse technology. The PM also reportedly said the two
countries have agreed to further talks to protect their territorial
waters from drug smugglers.

Golding reiterates call for lifting of U.S. embargo, constructive
U.S. engagement with Cuba
--------------------------------------------- --

4.(SBU) According to the Jamaica Observer newspaper, Golding "gave
a commitment to encourage the American Government to pursue a path
of constructive engagement with the Cuban Government, similar to
what has been adapted (sic) with communist China and Vietnam. He
said the U.S. was prepared to engage constructively with China and
Vietnam, and the time has come for constructive engagement with
Cuba." Speaking at an airport press conference upon his return to
Kingston, the PM said: "We gave them (Cuban Government) an assurance
that not only would we continue to support that view, but that we
would use whatever influence we have, however limited, to seek to
encourage and influence the thinking of the U.S. Government towards
a different approach to Cuba." According to the Gleaner newspaper,
while in Havana Golding said that "he believed the lifting of the
U.S. embargo on Cuba was imminent."

JLP Government to continue longstanding bilateral cooperation
--------------------------------------------- ----

5.(SBU) Historically in Jamaica, JLP Governments generally have
been less sympathetic to the Cuban regime that those of the
opposition People's National Party (PNP). This was particularly
true when Edward Seaga succeeded Michael Manley as PM during the
early 1980s. Indeed ironically, Golding himself was a prominent
Minister in the newly-elected Seaga Government when it declared
Cuban Ambassador Ulisses Estrada persona non grata. As noted in the
local press, the PM's recent visit to Havana is to some extent an
effort to "bury the Seaga-era Cuban policy." Golding also sought to
allay any concerns by the Cubans that the Government of Jamaica

KINGSTON 00000414 002 OF 002


might somehow hold them responsible for a recent scandal surrounding
the distribution of Cuban light bulbs, in which one senior Jamaican
official has been indicted on corruption charges (reftel B). By
septel, we will provide further analysis and comment on Golding's
trip and its implications for U.S.-Jamaican relations.

HEG

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