Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Association of Caribbean States wants end to trade embargo against Cuba

Wednesday November 12 2008

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, (CMC) – The Association of Caribbean States (ACS) said it remains hopeful that the election of Barack Obama as president of the United States will lead to the lifting of the decades-old trade and economic embargo against Cuba.

Speaking at a news conference, ACS Secretary-General Luis Fernando Andrade Falla noted that Obama had already expressed the need for “a change of approach” but said the Trinidad-based regional organisation would have to wait and see how the new US administration actually deals with Cuba.

“With the new government ... a new administration, which has given some ideas of changing the policies toward Cuba, we hope that in that process of change would be a lifting of the embargo,” he told reporters.

He said the embargo, which was imposed on the island after former president Fidel Castro came to power more than four decades ago, remained a priority concern for the association.

He said the ACS, which comprises 25 member states and 11 associates within the English, French, Dutch and Spanish speaking Caribbean, intends to raise the issue at various fora.

Falla also described as a “political manipulation” Cuba’s human rights record, adding “you have to put into perspective the case of Cuba is a unique case in which it is in a state of war against the US.

“They don’t allow US citizens to go to Cuba. Is that a human right? They are not able to visit Cuba. You have different points of view, so that’s manipulating depending on who is against who, but in terms of the international law, as a member of the region, most of the countries are against the embargo. We have to voice against this position.”

Falla said Cuba, which was completely isolated between 1994 and 1995, has the most advanced education system.

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