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.