US-Cuba Relations: Stage Set for Historic Meeting Between Obama and Castro

Cuban diplomat Josefina Vidal sits down with ABC News’ Jim Avila

It will be the first scheduled meeting between leaders of the two countries in nearly 60 years.

In advance of the historic meeting, “Power Players” sat down with Josefina Vidal, the head diplomat representing Cuba in negotiations with the United States in the months following President Obama’s announcement in December that the U.S. would normalize relations with the Communist island.

In what she described as a “new era” of relations between the two neighboring countries, Vidal said one of the biggest challenges is to move beyond the distrust that was built over 54 years of severed ties.

"We still have to overcome it, so it's a process,” Vidal said, “because we haven't had that confidence for many years … But the idea is to get there.”

“We know that this is the way the United States government presents its policy toward Cuba, but what we believe is that we can respect each other's differences and at the same time work together on issues of common interest as neighbors,” Vidal said.

"The best way to achieve this kind of new relationship is that we both open up,” Vidal added.

“He has said very clearly that the president of Cuba [Raul Castro] has the prerogative to do what he has been doing on matters concerning US-Cuban relations,” Vidal said of the retired president. “He believes … that confidence has to be built between Cuba and the United States, because this is what has been lacking.”

ABC News’ Serena Marshall, Richard Coolidge, Ali Dukakis, Tom Thornton, Dick Norling and John Glennon contributed to this episode.