Dominica says its time to end the US economic, trade embargo of Cuba

HAVANA, Cuba, Wednesday January 29, 2014, CMC – Dominica has called on the United States to end its decades old economic and trade embargo of Cuba, saying it “strongly” supports the Cuban revolution.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, who is among 33 Latin American and Caribbean leaders attending the second Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), said the time had come for Washington to review the policy that had been imposed in 1960, nearly two years after the Batista regime was overthrown by Cuban revolutionaries led by Fidel Castro.

“I will continue to support, very strongly, the Cuban revolution; I will continue to ask the United States to end the blockade against Cuba and to free the Cuban five who are imprisoned,” Skerrit said.

The US trade embargo was extended in 1962 to include almost all imports and n 1996, Congress passed the Helms–Burton Act, which further restricted United States citizens from doing business in or with Cuba.

In 1999, U.S. President Buill Clinton expanded the trade embargo even further by also disallowing foreign subsidiaries of U.S. companies to trade with Cuba. In 2000, Clinton authorized the sale of certain “humanitarian” US products to Cuba.

President Barack Obama has outlined a series of steps he said that Cuba could take to demonstrate a willingness to open its closed society, including releasing political prisoners, allowing United States telecommunications companies to operate on the island and ending government fees on U.S. dollars sent by relatives in the United States.

Skerrit said it’s “always a pleasure to be in this beautiful country of Cuba, the place of our revolutionary brothers and sisters, a country that has stood the test of time and I’m very happy to be here in Cuba and to be around my friends”.

CELAC aims to unite all of the Latin American and Caribbean States, in order to strengthen the political, social and cultural integration of the region, and stimulate economic growth.

The two-day summit ends later on Wednesday. 

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