Official Cuban reaction to U.S. moves is restrained satisfaction

The U.S. action to ease the embargo against Cuba points Washington “on the right road,” says a report Wednesday (Jan. 27) in the daily Granma, official organ of the Cuban Communist Party.

But Havana has some reservations, as explained in these quotes from the Granma article, translated by Progreso Weekly.

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The new package of measures by the Obama administration constitutes another step forward in the relations between the two countries and confirms that it is still possible to continue emptying all sense from the blockade, which weighs upon Cuba, beginning with eliminating the restrictions that are not codified into law.

This is underscored by the current approval of credits, something that perhaps seemed distant at the start of the process of reestablishment of relations.

However, there remains a distance to go, because the current decisions say not a word about the possibility of the use of the dollar in Cuba’s international financial transactions, something that no doubt makes all our country’s negotiations more expensive and clumsier.

By the same token, the exports allowed to Cuba’s state-run enterprises are limited to specific services and require specific evaluations and licenses. To this it may be added that [the export of U.S. goods] does not extend to sectors other than telecommunications, where today it is possible to make investments and sell services to Cuban state-owned companies, as well as software, devices and equipment, although not of high technology.

Other aspects that remain untouched are those related to [Cuban] exports to the United States and the authorization for travel by U.S. citizens to Cuba, under the umbrella of individual people-to-people exchanges.

But, if anything is made clear by each new package of the announced measures, it is the possibility of moving ahead on this road and contributing to weaken the structures that sustain the blockade.

Perhaps that will be the most expeditious way to promote debate inside the U.S. Congress, so it may finally adopt the decision demanded by 191 world nations and suggested by President Barack Obama himself.

[PHOTO AT TOP SHOWS: U.S.-Cuba negotiations last year were headed by Roberta Jacobson, far left, and Josefina Vidal, far right.]

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[To read ‘U.S. makes drastic changes in Cuba-related financing, exports and travel’, click here.]

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ENGAGE CUBA CALLS THE EASED EMBARGO ‘A GIANT STEP FORWARD’

WASHINGTON – Following today’s (Jan. 26) decision by the U.S. government to remove restrictions on payments and financing for exports and re-exports with Cuba, along with loosening travel restrictions on the island, James Williams, president of Engage Cuba, issued the following statement:

“Today is another giant step forward to loosen the outdated policies of the trade embargo era and to bring the people of the United States and Cuba closer together.

“As Americans are able to increase their export business to the Island and make secure payments, we expect these regulations to help the Cuban people get access to the essentials that they need and to support American free enterprise.

“Ultimately, these new regulations mean that we can better support American businesses on the island while fostering a more stable economy for the Cuban people. This will allow for greater flexibility, security and independence for both Americans and Cubans.

“Today’s announcement reflects the support of the broad majority of the American and Cuban people for a new Cuba policy. Now it is time for Congress to do its job and end the embargo, a policy that has been a colossal failure for over 50 years.”

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