How wild did things get?
Secret missives – the pope and artificial insemination wild.
Fidel Castro died today at age 90.
We are showcasing this story – a behind-the-scenes account that dramatically illuminates the latest twists and turns in US-Cuba relations.
On a rainy day last December President Barack Obama gathered a small group of senior officials in the Oval Office and placed a telephone call to Raúl Castro.
Sitting on a couch to Obama’s left were National Security Council aides Benjamin Rhodes and Ricardo Zuniga – personal emissaries whose 18 months of secret negotiations were about to culminate in the first substantive conversation between the presidents of the United States and Cuba in more than half a century.
Obama later told reporters that he’d apologized to Castro for talking for such a long time.
‘Don’t worry about it Mr. President’ Castro responded.
‘You’re still a young man and have still the time to break Fidel’s record—he once spoke seven hours straight’.
After Castro finished his own lengthy opening statement Obama joked ‘Obviously it runs in the family’.
Despite the levity both leaders understood the seriousness of their 45-minute conversation.
‘There was’ one White House official recalled ‘a sense of history in that room’.