Cuba urges US to lift economic, trade blockade
Havana, Oct 22 (IANS) Cuba has renewed its call on the US Congress to end the economic and trade embargo held against the island for over 55 years, as a sign of a new era in ties between the two nations.
At a press conference on Friday in Havana, Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister, Abelardo Moreno said the U. legislative body should pay attention to public opinion, which supports the end of economic sanctions against Cuba, Xinhua news agency reported.
“The American people are responsible for demanding their leaders in Congress lift the economic blockade, because they must represent the opinion of a great majority of the US population and institutions,” he said.
A poll by Florida International University conducted in September found that 63 per cent of Cuban-Americans living in Miami opposed the embargo. This group has traditionally opposed closer ties to the Castro regime.
A Pew Research Centre poll in July also showed 72 per cent of Americans in favour of lifting the embargo.
Moreno stated a set of changes approved by US President Barack Obama to further ease the embargo but said they were “very limited”.
“There are a series of legal elements and laws included in US legislation like the Torricelli Act or the Helms Burton Act which the president cannot overturn as only the US Congress can do so,” he said.
The Torricelli Act, passed in 1992, prevents travel by American citizens to Cuba and foreign subsidiaries of American companies from trading with the island. The Helms-Burton Act, passed in 1996, strengthened the original embargo by penalizing foreign companies that trade with Cuba.