US-Cuba embargo remains even though diplomatic relations restored

CCTV News

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One-hundred and sixty-thousand Americans visited Cuba last year with many more expected now that commercial flights have resumed between the two countries.

U.S. citizens, though, still can’t come as tourists. That remains banned under the decades old U.S. trade embargo which only Congress can repeal. Most Cubans are delighted that diplomatic relations have finally been restored but frustrated that the embargo remains.

CCTV America’s Michael Voss has more.

US-Cuba embargo remains even though diplomatic relations restored

US-Cuba embargo remains even though diplomatic relations restored

One-hundred and sixty-thousand Americans visited Cuba last year with many more expected now that commercial flights have resumed between the two countries. U.S. citizens, though, still can’t come as tourists. That remains banned under the decades old U.S. trade embargo which only Congress can repeal. Most Cubans are delighted that diplomatic relations have finally been restored but frustrated that the embargo remains. CCTV America’s Michael Voss has more

The trade embargo goes back to the early days of the Cuban revolution, when in 1960, Fidel Castro nationalized all U.S. owned businesses on the island without compensation. Since then, it’s been expanded to cover trade, travel and finance.

U.S. President Barack Obama has used his executive powers to ease some of the sanctions; making it easier to travel to Cuba and open up some trade and business opportunities. But the embargo continues to bite, especially in terms of international banking.

In the past two years alone, the United States has fined three European banks a total of more than $11 billion for violating U.S. sanctions against Cuba, Iran and Sudan.

This affects both trade and investment with most banks still afraid to do business with Cuba. British entrepreneur Andrew Macdonald has Cuban approval for a multi-million dollar renewable energy project but had to turn to the Chinese to finance it.

“The blockade with the United States of America creates a lot of problems for financing projects in Cuba. The Chinese don’t have some of the issues which Europe has,” Macdonald, CEO of Havana Energy, said.

The embargo was intended to isolate Cuba’s Communist government and remains one of the last vestiges of the Cold War. Yet, at least for now, it’s the U.S. which is isolated over the issue.


Juan Carlos Hidalgo on US-Cuba embargo

For more on U.S.-Cuba Embargo, CCTV America’s Mike Walter interviewed Juan Carlos Hidalgo, a policy analyst on Latin America for the Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity at CATO Institute.