U.S. President Barack Obama has extended the 47-year-old trade embargo against Cuba for another year. In a statement released today, the President said that it was in the U.S. national interest to extend the Trading with the Enemy Act under which the trade embargo was put into effect. Cuba has been under a financial, trade and travel ban since 1962. The 1996 Helms-Burton Act stipulates that the embargo cannot be lifted under Cuba has begin a transition to democracy.
Mr. Obama has lifted some of the restrictions allowing Cuban-Americans to visit relatives whenever they want and send money home. The two sides are once again holding direct talks on immigration and later this week US officials travel to Cuba to discuss resuming direct mail services. The Cuban authorities have described these changes as little more than a cosmetic coat of paint, but the US administration continues to demand that Cuba must first show signs of reform before lifting the embargo.
Original report at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8256196.stm
Cartoon: Matt Wuerker, Politico at http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/2009/04/