Indeed, diplomats and observers on both sides of the Florida Straits say American and Cuban law enforcement officers, scientists, disaster relief workers, Coast Guard officials and other experts work together on a daily basis, and invariably express professional admiration for each other.
“I don’t think the story has been told, but there is a real warmth in just the sort of day-to-day relations between U.S. and Cuban government officials,” said Dan Whittle, who frequently brings scientific groups to the island in his role as Cuba program director for the Environmental Defense Fund.
“Nearly every time I talk to American officials they say they were impressed by their Cuban counterparts. There really is a high level of mutual respect.”
Almost none of these technical-level interactions make the headlines, but examples are endless. Just last week, Cuba’s top environmental official Ulises Fernandez and several island oil experts attended a conference in New York of the International Association of Drilling Contractors after the State Department expedited their visas.
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