Havana Hopes Biden Will Reverse US Policy Toward Cuba ‘Rapidly’

Raúl Castro and Barack Obama, during the latter’s visit to Havana in 2016. (Fotograma)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 21 January 2021 — The Cuban government hopes that the new US president, Joe Biden, will “quickly” reverse the hard line towards the island of his predecessor, Donald Trump, and resume the thaw initiated by Barack Obama in 2014. This was stated to Reuters by Carlos Fernández de Cossío, the top Cuban Foreign Ministry official in charge of relations with the country to the north.

“Everything could be reversed in the short term if that is the will of the government,” he says in an interview with the British agency. Havana is open to dialogue, he says, but acknowledges that it will not make “political concessions” in exchange for a relaxation of sanctions.

Fernández de Cossío points out that Biden’s promises suggest he will restart the process where he left off when he was Obama’s vice-president.

Fernández de Cossío is also optimistic that Biden’s team will include officials with experience in relations with Cuba, “who would not be swayed by simplified narratives…This team has more experience than any other in the last 60 years,” he said.

The last measure against the Island’s regime by the Trump administration came just five days before leaving office, with the sanctions imposed on the Cuban Ministry of the Interior and its head, General Lazaro Alberto Alvarez Casas, for “serious human rights abuses.”

Earlier that same week, the US included Cuba in the list of countries sponsoring terrorism; it had been removed from the list in 2015 during the Obama Administration.

Last May, Washington included the island in the list of countries that “do not fully cooperate” with US anti-terrorism efforts, and, among other sanctions, banned the sending of remittances to Cuba through companies controlled by the Cuban Armed Forces, and included in its black list companies “controlled” by the military, such as Gaesa, Fincimex and Kave Coffee.

Translated by: Hombre de Paz


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