The father of modern Cuba, Fidel Castro, has vowed that the communist-led island will not beg to have the US trade embargo lifted. His words were published in Havana in response to the easing of some sanctions against Cuba announced by the White House in Washington.
President Obama is lifting restrictions on Cuban-Americans’ travel to the island, and wiping out limits on the amount of money they can send to relatives. He is even considering re-establishing scheduled flights. One Havana resident said: “It’s a decision that should have been taken a long time ago, because bilateral relations would benefit Americans and Cubans.” American telecoms companies are now allowed to supply satellite services to Cuba, though sceptics point out that the government in Havana also has a say. Elizardo Sanchez from the Cuban Human Rights Commission said: “A government that brutally limits internet access, because it fears the internet; that limits access to international TV; I doubt very much that they will allow their own people, Cubans, free access to the internet.” Obama hopes that this crack in the 47-year trade embargo will encourage the one-party state to embrace democracy, which is a pre-condition for the White House to lift the sanctions fully.