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WikiLeaks cables indicate Cuba sought 'secret channel' to U.S.

Cuba's Raúl Castro wanted to open secret talks with the White House in late 2009 as the only way his government could "make major moves toward meeting U.S. concerns," according to senior Spanish diplomats cited in new WikiLeaks cables.

Other leaked cables describe Cuba's traditional dissidents as old, with little popular support and too many rivalries, penetrated by security agents and too interested in U.S. aid. They suggest in the future U.S. policy should look more to young bloggers and artists.

Castro has publicly offered to negotiate with Washington several times since succeeding his brother, Fidel. But the cables indicate he prefers secrecy for the give-and-take of negotiations with his government's enemy of half a century.

Spain's ambassador in Havana, Manuel Cacho, mentioned Castro's interest during a Dec. 2 meeting with the top U.S. diplomat in Cuba, Jonathan Farrar, according to a Dec. 5, 2009, cable signed by Farrar.

They also discussed an upcoming meeting between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, who had met with Castro in Cuba five weeks earlier.

Cacho said Moratinos would tell Clinton ``of Cuba's interest, as reportedly expressed to him by Raul Castro, for a `political channel' to the U.S. government,'' the cable noted. ``Only via such a `political channel' would the [Cuban government] be able to make major moves toward meeting U.S. concerns.''

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