Ties with Cuba may progress slowly, never backwards: Kaine

Washington, Oct 23 (IANS) US Democratic candidate for Vice President Tim Kaine said the US relations with Cuba, resumed under President Barack Obama, may progress faster or slower but “never go back” to what they were.

“The process will go forward, never backwards, but we need to work with Cuba on matters of importance, especially on human rights issues,” the Spanish-speaking senator from Virginia said in an interview to Efe news.

“So we may have a fast or slow process, but we’re not going back,” Kaine said when asked about possible Republican obstacles to lifting the embargo on the island-country.

The senator, who has special ties with Latin America and the Hispanic community, spoke of the benefits that the new diplomacy with Havana means for the US.

“Our process with Cuba is helping the US in its relations with every country in the Americas…Hillary (Democratic presidential candidate) and I want to work with all the nations of the Americas,” Kaine said.

“From the Yukon (Canada) to Patagonia (South America) we want to work in a different, special way with the nations of the Americas,” the senator said.

Obama, who announced the renewal of relations with Cuba in December 2014, recently issued an executive order to make the process of normalising relations with Cuba as “irreversible.”

However, the President continues to come up against major stumbling blocks in Congress with its Republican majority, where a strong group of lawmakers appears totally opposed to lifting the embargo on the island-country.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said if he wins the election, he will reverse the US opening towards Cuba promoted by Obama, unless religious and political freedoms are established on that country.