US and Cuba Seek Security Cooperation in Latin America
US Government Officials Meet Cuban Officials to Discuss Security and Law Enforcement
US government officials met on Thursday (01.19.2023) in Havana with Cuban government officials to discuss security and public order issues, the first dialogue of this type since 2018.
According to the State Department, the group of American officials included officials from government agencies, such as the Department of Homeland Security, the Coast Guard and the FBI. The aim of the meeting was to strengthen US security through ‘international coordination of law enforcement’ and have better capacity to ‘fight crime’ with cooperation on issues such as drug and human trafficking.
The State Department stated the meeting does not change the Joe Biden government’s ‘focus on human rights issues’ on the island. “Better coordination of law enforcement forces is beneficial for the US and Cuban people,” the statement said.
The rapprochement between US and Cuban officials was criticized by Republican legislators. In a letter, Senator Rick Scott and Marco Rubio of Florida noted that dialogue with ‘authoritarian regimes … negatively affects the well-being’ of Cubans.
The visit by US officials comes after months of a tentative approach of the Joe Biden government to the island, especially on immigration issues.