HAVANA — On the first day of historic talks between U.S. and Cuban officials, Jose Antonio Marero Perez went about his daily business: working as an accountant in the morning and spending the afternoon waiting in line to buy credit for his cellphone.
But his mind was keen on the meetings that started Wednesday. Perez, 62, has followed the news closely since the dual announcements Dec. 17 by President Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro that the two countries were restoring diplomatic ties.
"It's the best thing that could happen to us," said Perez, of the Buena Vista section of Havana. "First they start talking. Then it's time to end the economic embargo."
The talks between U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson, the top U.S. diplomat for Latin America, and her Cuban counterpart — Josefina Vidal, head of the Foreign Ministry´s North American affairs division — are the first in 38 years involving a U.S. official of that rank.