Cuba’s Fidel Castro has responded to America’s partial lifting of its embargo, refusing to accept charity, and calling for a total end to the blockade. US President Barack Obama has lifted travel and money restrictions on ex-pat Cubans living stateside, and allowed American telecoms companies to provide services there.
One Cuban man, visiting Havana from his new home in Miami, said: “Fifty years of embargo, trouble and mess, and in the end they have done nothing. There are many relatives here and there. What’s important is the union and that foreign relations progress.”
Under the old rules, Cubans living in the US could only travel back once a year, and were only allowed to send a maximum of 900 euros to relatives on the island.
White House spokesman Dan Restrepo said: “We want to increase the flow of information among Cubans and the outside world. One of the ways we can do that under existing United States law, back to the Cuban Democracy Act, is to allow US telecommunications companies to seek to provide services on the island.”
It is no more than a crack in the embargo imposed half a century ago. But Obama hopes it will encourage Cuba’s one-party system to start democratic reforms, long-demanded by Washington as a condition for lifting the sanctions fully.