Oscar-winning actor and political activist Sean Penn flew to Cuba hoping to interview its revolutionary icon Fidel Castro, entertainment news website TMZ reported Sunday.
“Sean (Penn) is going to the land of Fidel as a journalist, writing a story for Vanity Fair (magazine) about how the (Barack) Obama administration has affected Cuba,” TMZ reported.
Penn was traveling with Diana Jenkins: “Actually … it’s her plane … she’s married to the head honcho at Barclays bank,” TMZ added, noting the pair set out from Las Vegas on Saturday.
“Barclays sources say Sean and Diana are going to meet (Fidel) Castro — presumably because that’s what Diana told them,” the website reported. Penn’s representative also told TMZ a meeting was possible.
Since taking office in January, US President Barack Obama has moved to ease a half-century of tension with Cuba, with small steps such as relaxing rules on visits and money transfers to the island.
But so far, the US administration has not taken major strides in its approach to the Americas’ only communist regime. The Obama administration has said it will not, for now, seek to end the US economic embargo, instead urging Havana to show progress on human rights.
In July, the two countries also officially restarted a dialogue on migration issues which had been suspended since 2003, and talks are also under way aimed at restarting bilateral mail service which was cut off in 1963.
Obama recently asked Spain to send a message to Cuba urging its President Raul Castro to step up efforts to improve relations with Washington, a Madrid newspaper reported Sunday.
“Tell Raul that if he does not take steps, neither can I,” Obama told Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, according to El Pais, which cited a diplomatic source.
“We are making efforts, but if they do not make efforts, it will be very difficult for us to continue,” said Obama during the meeting on October 13 at the White House, the newspaper added.