PARIS – The French President on Saturday called for the United States embargo on Cuba to be lifted following the death of former Cuban leader and revolutionary, Fidel Castro.
Speaking to the press in Madagascar where he was attending a francophone summit, François Hollande said Cuba should be considered a member of the international community.
“Following the death of Fidel Castro, I would like to insist that the punitive embargoes on Cuba be indefinitely lifted,” Hollande said in declarations broadcast by BFM TV.
Hollande said that this had always been his stance on the Cuban situation.
In May 2015, French Socialist Party leader Hollande became the first French head of state to undertake an official state visit to Cuba since the Cuban Revolution in 1959.
Upon hearing the news of the former Cuban leader’s death, Hollande issued a statement saying that although he had disagreed with several human rights abuses in Cuba, he had equally disagreed with the unilateral sanctions forced on the island by the US.
Although current US President Barack Obama worked hard to normalize ties with Cuba, the Jan. 20, 2017 inauguration of outsider Republican Donald Trump could cast doubts on the future relationship between the neighboring nations.
The embargo, decreed in 1962, is bound by complicated legal framework that the president alone cannot untie.
The motion of lifting the embargo must be passed through Congress, currently in the hands of the majority anti-Castro, Republican Party.
Castro died late on Friday at the age of 90. The news was announced in an address on state television shortly thereafter by the leader’s brother and current president, Raul Castro.