Monday, September 28, 2009
Cuba’s Foreign Minister told the United Nations General Assembly today that it is still waiting for the global optimism generated by the new United States administration to be translated into action, calling for an end to the decades-long embargo against the Caribbean nation. With the election of President Barack Obama in the United States, “it seemed that a period of extreme aggressiveness, unilateralism and arrogance in the foreign policy in that country had come to an end and the infamous legacy of the George W. Bush regime had been sunk in repudiation,” Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla said at at the Assembly’s annual high-level debate.
In spite of Mr. Obama’s calls for change and dialogue, “time goes by and the speech does not seem to be supported by concrete facts,” the Cuban official said. “His speech does not coincide with reality.” The current U.S. authorities have displayed “uncertainty” in overcoming the “political and ideological trends” propagated by the previous administration, he noted.
“The detention and torture centre in the Guantanamo Naval Base – which usurps part of the Cuban territory – has not been shut down,” Mr. Rodríguez Parrilla said. “The occupation troops in Iraq have not withdrawn. The war in Afghanistan is expanding and is threatening other States.”
In April, the United States announced it was going to “abolish some of the most brutal actions taken by the George W. Bush administration” preventing contact between Cubans living in the United States and their relatives in Cuba. “These measures are a positive step, but they are extremely limited and insufficient,” the foreign minister stressed. Most importantly, the economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba is still in place, he pointed out. “Should there be a true desire to move towards change, the US Government could authorize the export of Cuban goods and services to the United States and vice versa.”
Further, Mr. Obama could allow U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba, the only country in the world they cannot visit, Mr. Rodríguez Parrillo emphasized. “The U.S. blockade against Cuba is an act of unilateral aggression that should be unilaterally terminated,” he said, expressing his country’s wiliness to normalize relations with the United States.