Friday, May 29, 2015

Growing consensus in US Congress against embargo on Cuba

Growing consensus in US Congress against embargo on Cuba
Updated: 2015-05-28 16:30

HAVANA - US Democratic Senator Tom Udall said in Havana Wednesday that
there is a growing bipartisan consensus in Congress in favor of lifting
the longtime economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba.
"We are trying at the Senate to remove the embargo with specific
legislations such as the lifting of the bans on traveling and
agricultural trade, among other things," the senator for the US State of
New Mexico said at a press conference, adding one could be "optimistic"
in that sense.
The majority of Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, support
lifting the travel restrictions to Cuba, Udall said, noting that it does
not mean this will happen tomorrow.
Udall led a congressional delegation to visit Cuba starting Saturday.
The group also includes Senator Alan Stuart, and the members of the
House of Representatives Raul Grijalva and John B. Larson, all of them
of the Democratic Party.
"The big question is how quickly we can do it," Udall said, pointing out
that a presidential campaign will be held next year in the United States.
Udall described the process of resuming US-Cuba diplomatic relations as
a "key moment in history", emphasizing that many Americans support the
move, though there is still a lot to be done.
During their stay in Cuba, the US congressmen met with officials of the
ministries of agriculture, foreign affairs, foreign trade and foreign
investment, as well as with representatives of state-owned companies and
private entrepreneurs.
Describing these contacts as "very productive", Udall said that the
delegation found that there has been considerable progress in improving
Cuba-US ties since last Dec 17, when Cuban President Raul Castro and US
President Barack Obama announced the decision to restore diplomatic
relations. The two sides broke off relations in 1961.
The senator said that in just two days on Friday, the deadline will
expire for Congress to try to stop Obama's decision to withdraw Cuba
from the list of state sponsors of terrorism. Obama announced on April
14 that he had decided to remove Cuba from the list.
Udall stressed that this decision has not been questioned to date and
should become effective in the coming days.
Removing Cuba from the list would eliminate the first obstacle demanded
by the island to resume formal ties, and the next step will be opening
embassies, he said.
The process of the two governments for restoring diplomatic relations
"is almost finished" and embassies will open "within weeks," the
congressman said.
Since December, delegations of the two countries have held three rounds
of negotiations on restoring diplomatic relations and the opening of
embassies in Havana and Washington.

Source: Growing consensus in US Congress against embargo on Cuba|Latin
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