Cuba wants Obama to further ease relationship

25 July 2016
Issue number 880

One year after the restoration of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the US, both sides have called on the other to do more practically to deepen economic and business relations.

In an extended interview in Granma, Josefina Vidal, the Director General for the US division of the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that while preliminary agreements had been reached in sectors such as telecommunications, hotel management and cruise-ship operations, the exploitation of such opportunities remained limited because of the way in which the US continued to apply the trade embargo.

She noted that “in spheres vital to the Cuban economy it was still virtually impossible to export Cuban products to the US” and that with the exception of telecommunications, general licences were not available for US investments in Cuba.

She also said that it had not been possible to normalise banking relations. This meant, she told Granma, that Cuba was still unable to make financial transfers, payments were withheld, and the US continued to impose fines on banks and foreign financial entities that do businesses with the country. The effect was, she said, “intimidatory,” with to date fines totalling US$14.4bnhaving been imposed on the US and foreign entities.

“The US government has failed to issue a political statement or legal document explaining to world banks that operations with Cuba are legitimate, and that they won’t be sanctioned,” she observed.

If President Obama …

This is an extract from the Caribbean Council’s weekly Cuba Briefing, a leading publication that provides detailed and accurate news on economic, social and political developments inside Cuba to corporate interests with a long term economic relationship with the island.

The publication is available internationally on a subscription-only basis for those in business, government and the academic world who wish to understand on a weekly basis developments relating to Cuba.

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