Cuban Gov. Doesn’t See Much Benefit in Obama’s New Actions to Weaken the Embargo

Josefina Vidal of the Cuban Foreign Ministry: "The document does not hide the purpose of promoting changes in the political, economic and social order [of Cuba], or hide the intention to further develop interventionist programs." Photo: Jose M. Correa/
Josefina Vidal of the Cuban Foreign Ministry: “The document does not hide the purpose of promoting changes in the political, economic and social order [of Cuba], or hide the intention to further develop interventionist programs.” Photo: Jose M. Correa/
HAVANA TIMES – The Cuban government said on Friday that the new measures approved by US President Barack Obama, to make irreversible the change in United States’ policy towards Cuba, are more beneficial to the United States than to the Cuban people.

“The measures are positive but very limited and generally benefit the United States more than Cuba and its people,” said Josefina Vidal of the Cuban Foreign Ministry, the chief negotiator in the talks with the US the reestablished diplomatic relations.

The Cuban diplomat also noted that some parts of the presidential directive “maintain a meddling content.”

Vidal statements were the first official reaction from the Cuban government after Obama made public the presidential directive which seeks to ensure that no US government may in the future reverse its policy of rapprochement with Cuba.

The new measures include the US president relaxation of the embargo in the area of infrastructure, medical cooperation, agriculture and port regulations.

“US exports to Cuba will not expand beyond the limited sales previously authorized and that exclude key sectors of our economy,” said Vidal.

The senior Cuban official said that Washington still maintains restrictions on Cuban imports in US territory, “especially those from the state sector, with the exception of pharmaceuticals approved in the new package of regulations”.

Cuban pharmaceutical may now obtain approval from the US authorities, so that Cuban medicines may be imported, distributed and sold in the country.

Another provision is that the United States eliminated the limit of $100 in value for rum and cigars from Cuba that American travelers may bring to their country when they return from the island.

“The document does not hide the purpose of promoting changes in the political, economic and social order [of Cuba], or hide the intention to further develop interventionist programs,” Vidal said at a news conference.

The diplomat, who has been the most visible Cuban face in the process of normalization of diplomatic relations between the two countries, said the new directive recognizes the Cuban government “as a legitimate and equal partner”.

Vidal also said that a relationship of “civilized coexistence within the large differences between the two governments” would be beneficial for both countries.

Obama’s presidential directive comes less than a month before the US presidential elections and just a few days after the Republican candidate Donald Trump reiterated that if he wins the White House he will reverse the policy of rapprochement toward the island.

14 thoughts on “Cuban Gov. Doesn’t See Much Benefit in Obama’s New Actions to Weaken the Embargo

  • The UN is nothing more than a talking shop for corrupt diplomats, dictators, thugs and repressive regimes. When brutal abusers like Cuba, Russia, China & Saudi Arabia sit on the UN Human Rights Commission, the entire institution is discredited. When UNESCO passes a declaration denying the historical and ongoing connection between Jews & Christians to Jerusalem it makes a mockery of the UN.

  • It is a horrific distortion. Your anti-US bias has blinded you to the facts.

  • Mocking the UN vote, Moses, is an imperialist boast that again is spawned by hiding behind the skirts of the world superpower, one that has a UN veto and one that doesn’t have to be impressed or guided by world opinion or anything else. In decades…nee centuries…past, that privilege was not used in a manner that harmed the images of democracy or the U. S. Then, following the Greatest Generation in World War II, along came right-wing thugs who, in 1952, aligned the U. S. government with the Mafia to support a thieving, brutal Batista dictatorship, a colossal blunter that gave birth to what is now one of history’s most famous revolutions. The thuggish U. S. reaction to the overthrow of Batista compounded the democratic disaster by allowing the Batistianos to set up shop — supported by the U. S. treasury and the U. S. CIA and the U. S. military, etc. — on U. S. soil. If that brief summary, Moses, is a distortion of U.S.-Cuban history, I’m sure you will instantly correct it.

  • I think they are “dumb”. Were it not so, they would have gotten off that “socialism until death” train a long time ago.

  • I don’t hide behind the skirt. I am a part of the well-informed public that you call the skirt. I don’t detest Cubans. On the contrary, I want to see them enjoy freedom as I do. US funding of programs which promote democracy in Cuba are far from “lavish”. The US spends far more elsewhere on far less repressive regimes. As far as the upcoming annual anti-blockade vote, is it that time of year again? Wow, the 23 or so previous votes have been so impactful on US policy that I have hardly kept track of time.

  • If I was going to smear Cuba, I think I would choose a moniker other than “Mongoose,” which has a rather dark connotation regarding some historically unsavory U.S.-Cuban history.

  • Spoken, Moses, like a real brave warrior hiding behind the skirts of a superpower while hurling grenades at a much weaker but pugnacious island. The Cubans on the island you detest the most, it seems, are the ones who believe the sternest in sovereignty and are the ones who fight from the frontlines. Josefina Vidal is such a fighter. The points she made in that news conference, after careful study of President Obama’s Friday announcement, reflect logic from Cuba’s standpoint, which is her job. Her most important sentence, I believe, is: “The document does not hide the purpose of promoting changes in the political, economic, and social order of Cuba, or hide the intention to further develop interventionists programs.” In other words, as long as the U. S. democracy is not strong enough to stop the lavish funding of special Cuban-exile projects and continuous regime-change programs, Cuba will not and probably should not accept President Obama’s OTHER welcomed and sane efforts to normalize relations with the island. Back in the 1950s Cuba was a piggy bank and punching bag for Batista, the Mafia, and greedy U. S. businesses. Near the end of 2016 AND Obama’s presidency, Josefina Vidal wants to see an end to the Batistiano and Mafiosi dictation of America’s Cuban policy, one made possible by a handful of right-wing Republicans in the U. S. Congress and sometimes in Republican White Houses. As Vidal indicated, she is a bit tired of shaking hands with a decent President, Mr. Obama, while getting stabbed in the back by a relative few members of Congress and a relative few Cuban-Americans, most of whom do not want to spend another half-century hurling grenades and blockades at innocent Cubans in the guise of HURTING the now 90-year-old Fidel Castro and LATER HURTING his legacy — A LEGACY CREATED BY BATISTA, THE MAFIA, THE BAY OF PIGS, CUBANA FLIGHT 455, THE EMBARGO, ETC. The UN vote on the issue later this month will, almost in unanimity yet again, support Vidal, not the grenade-throwers. Why not put your grenades aside, Moses, and discuss the upcoming UN vote that will yet again display concern for innocent Cubans on the island, not grenade-throwers. My concern is for those Cubans but also for the shame cast upon America and democracy by a Cuban policy you can bellow about but can’t justify.

  • ….”which is putting money in the pockets of Cuban leaders.”

    ….to then be spent on maintaining Cuba’s social programs, repairing Cuba’s infrastructure, and further developing Cuba’s new economic model. I know you’d rather believe that the Cuban government does nothing but sit around on their duffs drinking rum and smoking cigars all day, paid for by new tourist dollars, but the truth is really quite different. Tell me… why is it so difficult for you to accept that the Cuban government should rightfully expect to be rewarded for services provided on the island so that they can then better serve the people of their country with the win-fall? Perhaps it would be easier for you to relate if we simply referred to their new found working capital from increased tourism as user fees and taxes.

    Of course, some will blindly argue that the Castros live in luxury while the common people of Cuba continue to struggle. But what government in this world doesn’t live better than the common folk in the trenches?

  • I’m all for the right to buy a product, especially Cuban rum, which I have had and enjoyed immensely. Cigars I detest and feel should be banned from all countries but hey, some enjoy it so let’s allow that as well. One thing that’s true is Cuba does apparently have some of the best rum and cigars in the world. They got that right.

  • Maybe it’s just me but does anyone else feel that there’s behind the scenes negotiations that will resolve this mess pronto? I mean as much as I abhor the present regime they aren’t dumb and must realize that newspapers and media control is becoming obsolete. I certainly hope so because the system in Cuba needs to change rapidly for the benefit of both sides of the straits.

  • Smart policy changes by Obama. The nature of the changes are such that it will take changes on Cuban side to take advantage. The port changes make it easier and less expensive for container ships to stop in Cuba. They will need an economic reason to do so. Biomedical has huge potential. Drug industry regulations on US expensive and complex. It will take lots of effort to make it pay off. On line ordering from US companies would require payment system and delivery sector in Cuba. Cigars and Rum import limit removal has little practical impact. Few travelers will have need to exceed the prior $100 limit. To have full embargo dropped, the 1960’s property claims need resolution.

  • The Cuban government is bitter because once again, something has been removed that can be used as a grievance. Kind of spiking the barrels of guns with flowers. Meanwhile, I believe that Cuba is enjoying some benefit from the rapproachment. I doubt that Trump is going to win. If he does, then Cuba can go back to doing without the trade that this has brought, which is putting money in the pockets of Cuban leaders.

  • I think that Cuba is ruled by a bunch of curmudgeons who will be unhappy no matter what. They always want to pretend to be superior to anything the US has or does. Meanwhile, those leaders are banking the bucks that the reapproachment has brought to the island.

  • “As a legitimate and equal partner”? Yeah right. The Castros are neither legitimate nor equal. I smoke Cuban cigars and enjoy an occasional rum, but the United States does not need Cuban imports nor the revenues from Cuban imports. On the other hand, Cuba NEEDS the US in the wake of the implosion of the Venezuelan economy.

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