President Barack Obama tapped Spanish Ambassador Miguel Angel Moratinos to deliver a message to Raúl Castro in 2009 and urge him to reciprocate a decision to lift the travel restrictions for Cuban Americans, according to a recently published book.

In the book, Back to Cuba Channel: The Hidden History of Negotiations Between Washington and Havana, William LeoGrande and Peter Kornbluh document the message sent to Castro via Moratinos: “Tell the Cuban authorities that we understand that things can’t change overnight but down the road, when we look back, it should be clear that this was the moment when changes began.”

Castro responded with a proposal to open a “secret channel of communication,” but the White House replied that any conversation should take place through the “existing channels.”...



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