U.S. Government Could Do More to Limit Blockade on Cuba

Source:  Prensa Latina
October 1 2016

josefina-vidal-4U.S. President Barack Obama could even take other measures to ease the financial, economic and commercial blockade imposed on Cuba, Josefina Vidal, director general of the United States Department at the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MINREX), said on Friday.

During a Q&A session on Twitter, the MINREX official noted that the U.S. president could, for example, approve the exports of more products to Cuba, authorize U.S. investments in the Caribbean nation and normalize banking relationships.

Despite Obama’s announcement

Vidal stated that despite Obama’s announcement to allow use of the U.S. dollar in Cuba’s international transactions, the Caribbean island has so far been unable to make payments to third nations in that currency or to make cash deposits.

Although the area of telecommunications is the most benefited so far by the recent measures, difficulties such as the impossibility for Cuba to access dozens of Internet sites and services belonging to U.S. companies remain, she said.

U.S. citizens still cannot visit Cuba freely

Regardless of the recent restoration of regular flights between the two countries, U.S. citizens cannot visit Cuba freely, because of the blockade, she added.

According to the MINREX official, the opportunities in Cuba for U.S. companies are big, but the real obstacle is the economic, financial and commercial siege.

Six new cooperation agreements

However, Vidal pointed out that the two nations signed six new cooperation agreements in sectors of mutual interest such as law enforcement, seismic monitoring, the exchange of meteorological information, protected marine areas, search and rescue operations and the response to oil spillage in the Gulf of Mexico and the Straits of Florida.

Those agreements will be adopted, if possible, before this year ends, she said.

After responding to some questions from Twitter users, Vidal said that there is still a long way to progress towards the full normalization of ties between the two countries.

She added that the fifth and final meeting of the Cuba-United States Bilateral Commission corresponding to the Obama administration will take place in December, but Havana maintains its interest in and willingness to continue that mechanism in the future.

US elections

According to Vidal, Cuba expects that regardless of the results of the upcoming elections in the United States, the elected president will continue the way towards the normalization of relations.

‘Our will and aspiration are that the process that started on December 17, 2014, be irreversible. We have been working in that direction to create the bases for that. We will see what the future tells us about this issue,’ she said.

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