Easing the embargo on Cuba, he said, will “support the Cuban people in their effort to achieve the political and economic freedom necessary to build a democratic, prosperous and stable Cuba”.
The USA government announced Friday a new easing of the limits on travel and trade with Cuba, which includes the authorization, under certain conditions, of offering telecom services, opening bank accounts and doing business on the island.
The changes, while significant, stop short of allowing across-the-board investment by US companies or general USA tourism, activities banned under the broader embargo.
Also, the USA and Cuba should finalize an agreement on resuming direct, commercial airline routes, though the first flights wouldn’t start until next year. Like AP, the Journal cites an unnamed USA “official familiar with the new rules” being discussed by diplomats.
“It will be interesting to see what the Cuban reaction is to this”, said Juan Santamarina, chair of the history department at the University of Dayton who has studied Cuba’s economic track record.
Castro’s call marks the first time that a president from Cuba visited the US since his older brother and former president, Fidel, spoke before the United Nations in 1995, BBC wrote. “We contemplate that a potential joint venture may happen between USA companies and the Cuban government company of ETECSA”.
“The U.S.-Cuba diplomatic opening is quickly morphing into commercial normalization”, said Peter Schechter, head of the Atlantic Council think tank in Washington. The crippling economic embargo will remain in place and can only be lifted through an act of Congress, USA Today noted.
Speaking to Cuban daily Granma after the ceremony, Cabanas said that “exchanging ambassadors since ancient times is a sign of normality and respect among nations”.
The move could have a huge effect on how many people are able to access the Internet in Cuba, which continues to be one of the least connected countries in the world. These individuals and entities will also be authorized to employ Cuban nationals, open and maintain bank accounts in Cuba, and employ persons subject to US jurisdiction in Cuba.
They also hold out the prospect of new business opportunities for USA companies in Cuba, which some observers said was intended to increase pressure on Havana to take corresponding action to open its economy. The new rules announced Friday amend the terms of existing license exceptions available for Cuba, create new licensing policies, and take other steps to further promote economic activity in Cuba.
Cuban merchandise valued at $100 or less, except for alcohol and tobacco products, can be imported to the United States from a third country as long as it is not carried by the traveler.
“The Obama policy of pouring more American money into the Castro regime?s coffers won’t make America safer or the Cuban people freer”, he said in a statement.