Castro urges US to lift Cuba embargo

Castro urges US to lift Cuba embargo http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-30526694

Changes are needed for anlong time. Frequent visitors knowit the boycot destroys the future, ruined the economie. But on the helthcare site Cuba is ranked 2! Works via a pecial training program WITH the US where CUBANS TRAIN US DOCTORS, they even made a breaktthrough peniciline with a world wide team to prevent mrsa/mrse. A needed drig due to the many chronic infected patients.The hospital bacteria is  resistant for almost  every peniciline.  Time to lift the ban. I is no secret that I want it to end. Cubs libre! Give the poeple a future. They deserve it.

Mr Obama added that the US was looking to open an embassy in Havana in the coming months.

The BBC’s Barbara Plett Usher in Washington says that although Mr Obama has the authority to normalise relations with Cuba and increase the flow of people and money, only Congress can lift the embargo.

The president still faces strong opposition from some in Congress who view the Cuban regime as a repressive dictatorship, she says.

Cuban-American Republican Senator Marco Rubio said he would do all he could to “unravel” the plan.

Fellow Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham said the shift in policy reflected “America and the values it stands for in retreat and decline”.

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Cuban President Raul Castro has urged the US to end its trade embargo after the two countries opened formal talks on restoring diplomatic relations.

He said the five-decade embargo “caused enormous human and economic damage”.

But only the US Congress has the power to lift the embargo, and correspondents say many Republicans are still deeply opposed to this.

On Wednesday, US President Barack Obama and Mr Castro agreed a number of measures to improve ties.

They included the release by Cuba of US contractor Alan Gross and three Cubans held in the US.

Relations between the US and Cuba have been frozen since the early 1960s when the US broke off diplomatic relations and imposed a trade embargo after Cuba’s revolution led to communism.

But in unprecedented moves on Wednesday, Mr Obama said the “rigid and outdated policy” of isolating Cuba had clearly failed.

He said economic reforms were still needed in Cuba and human rights there needed to be upheld. But he said it was time for a new approach.

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Key dates

1959: Fidel Castro and his guerrilla army defeat the US-backed Cuban regime of Fulgencio Batista

1960-1961: Cuba nationalises US businesses without compensation; US breaks off diplomatic relations and imposes a trade embargo in response

1961: Failed Bay of Pigs invasion by CIA-backed Cuban exiles

1962: Soviet Union deploys ballistic missiles to Cuba, prompting Cuban Missile Crisis

2001: Five Cubans, dubbed the Cuban Five, are jailed in Miami for spying

2008: Raul Castro becomes Cuban president

2009: US citizen Alan Gross detained in Cuba accused of spying

Mr Obama added that the US was looking to open an embassy in Havana in the coming months.

The BBC’s Barbara Plett Usher in Washington says that although Mr Obama has the authority to normalise relations with Cuba and increase the flow of people and money, only Congress can lift the embargo.

The president still faces strong opposition from some in Congress who view the Cuban regime as a repressive dictatorship, she says.

Cuban-American Republican Senator Marco Rubio said he would do all he could to “unravel” the plan.

Fellow Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham said the shift in policy reflected “America and the values it stands for in retreat and decline”.

Dec 2013: US President Barack Obama and Raul Castro shake hands at Nelson Mandela’s funeral – the first such public gesture since 1959

17 December 2014: Alan Gross is released by Cuba

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