The Cuban government thinks that President Barack Obama has performed “far below the expectations” created regarding a possible change in U.S. policy toward the island, the foreign minister said Wednesday. At the presentation of Havana’s latest report on the costs to Cuba of the 48-year-old U.S. economic embargo, Bruno Rodríguez lamented the fact that Obama has not used his prerogatives to ease the sanctions or make aspects of them more flexible.
The embargo has caused direct economic damage to the Cuban people calculated at more than $100 billion, according to the document, which the Cuban government updates every year ahead of the annual vote in the U.N. General Assembly on a resolution calling for an end to the sanctions.
Rodríguez made clear that he considers Obama an “intelligent and honest politician” who due to probable internal political reasons continues to maintain an embargo that “distances the United States from its national interest and betrays the best interests of the U.S. people.”
Along the same line, the foreign minister emphasized that his country “treats President Obama with great respect,” but he criticized the fact that after having announced a change in policy toward Cuba and promising that he would listen to his allies, the U.S. president’s policy has translated into “an abyss between his words and his deeds in relation to Cuba.”
The impossibility, because of the embargo, of acquiring radioactive iodine and other medical items makes the treatment of cancer and other illnesses much more costly, less precise and in some cases it places patients’ health at risk, particularly that of children, the report says.
As in earlier years, the Cuban government denounced the embargo as contrary to international law and “a relic of the Cold War.” According to the report, the most paradoxical thing is that polls show at least half of U.S. citizens oppose the embargo and an even larger percentage favor restoration of diplomatic relations with Cuba. The resolution urging Washington to scrap the embargo has been approved by the U.N. General Assembly for 18 consecutive years. Last year, the measure passed by a vote of 187-3 with two abstentions, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands. Only Israel and Palau joined the United States in opposing the resolution.
For the original EFE report go to http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=366650&CategoryId=14510