Sunday, November 02, 2008

Venezuela's Chavez Calls for Obama to End U.S. Embargo on Cuba


By Steven Bodzin

Nov. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called for U.S. Senator Barack Obama, favored in opinion polls to win the presidential election on Nov. 4, to end his country's trade embargo of Cuba.

``A black man may become president of the U.S., and we can say that's no small thing,'' Chavez said in a speech on state television. ``Hopefully, the next government of the U.S. will listen to the mandate, not just of morals, ethics and the times, but also the mandate of the UN that days ago voted, once more, asking the U.S. to eliminate its savage blockade of Cuba.''

The U.S. declared a trade embargo on Cuba almost 50 years ago and has maintained it in the face of criticism from around the world. In a United Nations vote Oct. 29, 185 nations pressed the U.S. to drop the embargo, with only the U.S., Israel and Palau voting against the resolution.

Venezuela is one of Cuba's closest allies. Chavez referred to Cuba's government during the broadcast as having a common government with Venezuela, and he offered his customary greeting to Fidel Castro, the former Cuban president, by saying ``How are you, Fidel?'' in English.

To contact the reporter on this story: Steven Bodzin in Caracas at

Last Updated: November 2, 2008 17:05 EST

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