jueves, 29 de mayo de 2014

American trade delegation in rare Cuba visit

American trade delegation in rare Cuba visit

A delegation from the American Chamber of Commerce has begun its first

visit to Cuba in 15 years.

Chamber president Thomas Donohue said he was in Cuba to assess the

economic changes taking place under President Raul Castro.

The United States imposed an embargo on the communist-run island more

than 50 years ago following the triumph of the Cuban Revolution.

Members of the Cuban community in the US have criticised the visit.

They accuse Mr Castro's government of persecuting political opponents

and violating basic human rights.

Cuban-American Senator Robert Menendez said political opponents

continued to be arrested "without justification," in Cuba.

"Such conditions hardly seem an attractive opportunity for any

responsible business leader," Mr Menendez told the AP news agency.

'Civilised relations'

Members of the trade delegation told AP that they were in Cuba to assess

the trade possibilities in a post-embargo scenario.

However, the vast and politically-active Cuban community in the US has

been strongly opposed to any change to trade ties with the communist-run


Since Fidel Castro handed power to his brother Raul in 2006, Cuba's

communist government has introduced a number of economic reforms.

Cubans are now allowed to own small businesses and to buy and sell cars

and properties.

"We are very pleased to be here. We are learning a lot about the changes

taking place in Cuba," said Mr Donohue.

He said that Cuba is now "fundamentally different in terms of the number

of people that are operating under the private system".

In December, President Raul Castro called for "civilised relations" with

the United States, saying the two countries should respect their


The US should drop its demand for regime change and allow both sides to

continue work on improving relations, Mr Castro said.

The US Chamber of Commerce delegation was welcomed to Havana on Tuesday

afternoon by Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez and Trade Minister Rodrigo

Malmierca Diaz.

Source: "BBC News - American trade delegation in rare Cuba visit" -


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