HAVANA – Cuba and the United States still do not enjoy “normal” financial ties, the island’s foreign minister said in comments posted Wednesday on the official Web site Cubadebate.
Bruno Rodriguez says that the executive actions approved recently by President Barack Obama to ease the U.S. economic embargo on the island have remained a “mere announcement.”
The latest package of measures, announced a few days before Obama’s March 20-22 visit to the island, eliminated the prohibition on Cuba’s use of the dollar in its international transactions, one of the main impediments for foreign companies who wanted to do business with Cuba.
“I can affirm that at this moment there are no normal financial transactions,” said Rodriguez, who emphasized that Cuban banks remain unable to open accounts in the United States.
Despite the current process of normalization between the two countries, who resumed diplomatic relations last July after a hiatus of more than 50 years, “the blockade (embargo) continues to be a suffocating reality,” said Rodriguez.
Cuba’s top diplomat said that normal links will not be a reality as long as the United States continues to occupy the territory of the Guantanamo Naval Base or finances programs to try and “alter the prevailing constitutional order” in the communist country.
In addition, he insisted that the United States maintains “intact its strategic objectives to dominate Cuba economically and politically.”
“The speeches can be pleasant, even sincere, but a friendly phrase, a smile, and a sympathetic gesture cannot cause a long history to be forgotten,” said the foreign minister referring to the words that Obama directed to the Cuban people on March 22.
In one of the key moments of his visit to the island, Obama asked Cubans to forget old quarrels and look to the future, at the same time that he emphasized that Cubans will decide the destiny of their country.
Rodriguez emphasized that his country is ready for dialogue and cooperation with the United States, albeit without renouncing “by a millimeter the principles of the Revolution, or its independence.”