Raul Castro Offers to Meet Obama at Gitmo

Cuban prez seeks talks for US trade deal, he tells Sean Penn
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 27, 2008 2:04 AM CST

(Newser) – Raul Castro wants to normalize trade with the US and he's eager to meet with Barack Obama in order to do so, the Cuban leader told actor Sean Penn in an interview in the Nation. Castro said it wouldn't be fair to expect either leader to go to the other's country first, and suggested a meeting on neutral ground—like Guantanamo Bay.

Castro, who spoke with Penn for seven hours, said that the Cuban military has been in direct contact with the US military over Guantanamo since 1994, holding monthly meetings and even joint exercises. Castro called for an end to the US trade blockade and said he would be happy for Americans to visit Cuba. When told US conservatives have predicted that the end of the embargo would terminate Communist rule, Castro responded: "We welcome the challenge."