FEBRUARY 20 2010 17:06h
Cuba said it had warned the head of the US delegation, Chris Kelly, that they would reject his using his stay there for provocative event.
Communist Cuba on Saturday slammed the United States for what it called a "provocative event" and "bald-faced meddling" in its internal affairs, after a US diplomat met with Cuban dissidents.
The foreign ministry said in a statement that after US-Cuban talks on migration issues, "the US delegation called in dozens of its mercenaries" -- the term it reserves for dissidents opposed to the only one-party communist regime in the Americas -- to the residence of the top US diplomat here.
"With this offensive conduct against the Cuban people and authorities, (Washington) has confirmed the instruments of its subversive policy toward Cuba remain activated, and makes clear its lack of a real desire to improve ties ... and to leave behind bald-faced meddling," the statement adds.
Friday US officials expressed hope that high-level migration talks with Cuba would yield "positive results," but also demanded that Havana release an American consultant held here since December.
The most senior US delegation to the communist-ruled island in years sought to advance progress on US-Cuba Migration Accords in the second round of talks on the contentious issue in the past year.
Cuba said it had warned the head of the US delegation, Chris Kelly, "that we would reject his using his brief stay here to organize a provocative event, outside the scope of the migration talks."
The US government showed, the foreign ministry argued, "once again that its priorities lie with supporting counterrevolutionary forces and promoting subversion to topple the Cuban Revolution, and not with creating a climate that could lead to real solutions to our bilateral problems."
US President Barack Obama's administration last year resumed talks on migration with Cuba that had been conducted every two years until his predecessor George W. Bush suspended them in 2003.
A senior US diplomat, Bisa Williams, traveled to Havana in September to meet with Cuban officials and discuss another prospect for improving relations -- resuming direct mail service that had been suspended between the two countries since 1963.
Cuba's government has a longstanding interest in migration dialogue with the United States as it seeks to stem persistent illegal US-bound emigration of its nationals across the shark-infested Florida Straits.
Obama took office last year with a mission of reaching out to adversaries like Cuba. The United States broke off relations with the neighboring communist island in 1961.
The Obama administration has lifted travel and money transfer restrictions on Cuban-Americans with relatives in Cuba. But it has urged Havana to free political prisoners and improve political freedoms, irking the leadership which has shown zero interest in political opening.