Josefina Vidal Ferreiro, a diplomat who for 11 years headed “the U.S. desk” at the Cuban Foreign Ministry and was instrumental in the negotiations that led to improved relations between the two countries, has been assigned ambassador to Canada, the Cuban media reported Sunday (July 23).
Vidal, a member of the Communist Party Central Committee, led the Cuban diplomatic team that met with its U.S. counterpart to iron out details of 22 agreements on travel, law enforcement, the environment and postal service, according to the Reuters news agency.
The result of those talks was announced by presidents Raúl Castro and Barack Obama on Dec. 17, 2014.
The U.S. team was led by Jeffrey DeLaurentis, who left his post in mid-July of this year. No replacements for either diplomat was immediately announced by either government.
Cuban officials told The Associated Press that Vidal’s deputy at the 2014 talks, Gustavo Machín Gómez, would also leave the division of U.S. affairs to become ambassador to Spain. Canada and Spain are “vital economic partners for Cuba,” the agency says, and their embassies are two of Cuba’s “most important economic outposts.”
The AP said that the Cuban government “appears to have decided to bring in new faces to deal with the Trump administration,” and pointed out that in a recent reversal of former U.S. policy, “[President Donald] Trump retained most elements of the Obama policy, although he will re-impose limits on individual Americans’ ability to travel to Cuba.”
PHOTO AT TOP shows Vidal signing a document Sunday (July 23) at the Cuban Foreign Ministry.