Fidel Castro asks US lawmakers how to improve ties

HAVANA — A “very healthy, very energetic” Fidel Castro asked visiting Congressional Black Caucus members what Cuba could do to help President Barack Obama improve bilateral relations during his first meeting with U.S. officials since falling ill in 2006.

Caucus leader Rep. Barbara Lee, a Democrat from California, said the ailing former Cuban president talked for nearly two hours with her and two other delegation members on Tuesday in a meeting seen as signaling Cuba’s willingness to discuss better relations with the United States.

“We believe it is time to open dialogue and discussion with Cuba,” Lee told a news conference in Washington upon the caucus members’ return. “Cubans do want dialogue. They do want talks. They do want normal relations.”

Lee said the group would present its findings to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a fellow Democrat from California, and White House and State Department officials.

The AP, via The Hattiesburg American 4/8/9