Home Tags Posts tagged with "cuba embargo"

cuba embargo


For the first time in 25 years, the US abstained from voting on the annual UN resolution calling for an end to America’s economic embargo against Cuba.

The US ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, said the historic decision reflected the new policy of engagement over isolation.

Diplomatic ties with Cuba were restored in 2015, but Republican-controlled Congress opposes lifting the longstanding embargo.

The vote passed overwhelmingly, with the support of 191 countries.

Only Israel abstained alongside the US.US lifts Cuba embargo 2015

The UN General Assembly has voted to approve the resolution every year since 1992, and the US has always strongly opposed it.

“After 55-plus years of pursuing the path of isolation, we are choosing to take the path of engagement,” Samantha Power said.

She added, however, that the abstention did “not mean that the United States agrees with all of the policies and practices of the Cuban government”, including “serious human rights violations”.

The decision at the UN General Assembly led to immediate protest from US politicians opposed to lifting the embargo.

Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz tweeted that the act imposing sanctions on Cuba was “the law of the United States, which should always be defended and upheld”.

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said Cuba was “grateful” for Samantha Power’s efforts.

“A change in vote by the United States is a promising signal,” he said.

“We hope it will be reflected in reality.”

While UN resolutions of this type are non-binding and non-enforceable, the annual resolution has for 25 years allowed Cuba to demonstrate that global opinion is against America’s Cuba policy.

Cuba says the embargo prevents sick people from being treated with much-needed US medical equipment and farmers from modernizing their agricultural methods.

The highest-level US delegation to Cuba in 35 years begins talks aimed at restoring diplomatic ties and eventually normalizing relations between two adversaries who have been locked in Cold War-era hostilities.

The talks in Havana are part of a thaw in relations between the two rivals announced last month in simultaneous speeches by President Barack Obama and his Cuban counterpart, Raul Castro.

They come only hours after President Barack Obama urged Congress to seize the chance to end the US trade embargo against Cuba.

The talks will focus on migration and restoring full diplomatic ties.

Both sides are also expected to outline longer-term goals. While Cuba will seek the repeal of Washington’s 53-year-old economic embargo and ask to be removed from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism, the Americans will press the one-party state for greater human rights.US-Cuba talks January 2015

The US delegation will be led by Roberta Jacobson, the top US diplomat for Latin America. The last time someone of her level of seniority visited Cuba was 35 years ago.

The Cubans have not made their agenda public, but talks are expected to focus on migration issues on January 21 and fuller diplomatic relations on January 22.

On January 20, President Barack Obama stressed the importance of the thaw in US-Cuban relations in his State of the Union address to Congress.

He said his decision to engage with Cuba after decades of frozen relations had the potential to “end a legacy of mistrust in our hemisphere”.

The president also urged Congress to begin work on ending the US trade embargo against Cuba, which has been in force for more than five decades.

“In Cuba, we are ending a policy that was long past its expiration date. When what you’re doing doesn’t work for 50 years, it’s time to try something new,” he said.

Barack Obama said the shift in his administration’s Cuba policy removed “a phony excuse for restrictions in Cuba; stands up for democratic values; and extends the hand of friendship to the Cuban people”.

However, President Barack Obama does not have the power to lift the embargo, only Congress can do that and correspondents say many Republicans are still deeply opposed to this.

[youtube LnEZilKb1nY 650]

The US has loosened Cuba travel and trade restrictions starting with January 16, US officials say.

Measures include allowing US citizens to use credit cards in Cuba and for US businesses to export some technologies.

Americans will be able to take home up to $100 in alcohol and tobacco from Cuba. Correspondents say it means the US ban on Cuban cigars is over.

The move comes after the US and Cuba countries agreed last month to restore diplomatic relations severed since 1961.

Although the latest moves put a large dent in the US trade embargo against Cuba, only Congress can lift it completely.US loosens travel and trade restrictions on Cuba

Earlier this week, US officials said Cuba had completed the release of 53 political prisoners agreed as part of the historic deal.

“Today’s announcement takes us one step closer to replacing out-of-date policies that were not working and puts in place a policy that helps promote political and economic freedom for the Cuban people,” said US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew in a statement.

Under the new regulations, US citizens will be allowed to travel to Cuba for any of a dozen specific reasons without first obtaining a special license from the US government.

US credit and debit cards can be used there and there will be no more limits on how much money US citizens can spend in Cuba each day.

US companies will also find it easier to export mobile phones and software to Cuba, as well as provide internet services there.

A change in the regulations will also allow US investments in some small businesses and agricultural operations.

The thaw in relations between the two countries was announced last month in simultaneous televised speeches by President Barack Obama and his Cuban counterpart, Raul Castro.

Later this month, US Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson will lead a delegation to Cuba to discuss migration issues.

They will be the first high-level talks since the easing of relations was announced.