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U.S. trade embargo persists despite better ties, Cuba says

Staff Writer | September 12, 2016
The U.S.-led trade embargo against Cuba continues to hamper the country's economic development, despite thawing relations between the two former adversaries.
Bruno Rodriguez
Trade relations   There is no aspect of Cuba that does not suffer
Cuba's Foreign Affairs Minister Bruno Rodriguez released the government's latest report on the impact of the "blockade," a term Cuba used to describe a web of sanctions that prevents it from having normal trade, economic and financial ties with other countries.

"There is no aspect of Cuba that does not suffer the consequences of the blockade. The application of this policy impacts services, healthcare, education, the economy, prices, wages, food and social security," Rodriguez said at a press conference.

"The impact of the blockade cannot be underestimated. It is the principal obstacle to national development," added Rodriguez.

Next month, said Rodriguez, Cuba will once again present the annual report to the United Nations General Assembly, which has consistently voted for an end to the embargo.

Between April 2015 and March 2016, the blockade has caused about $4.68 billion in losses to the cash-strapped economy, the report estimates.

Over the nearly six decades the blockade has been in effect, total losses to Cuba's economy amount to $753.688 billion.

"Wouldn't our economic situation be better without all these obstacles?" Rodriguez asked.

Cuba and the U.S. have restored diplomatic ties in July 2015, and Washington has relaxed certain restrictions, but the blockade largely remains in place despite U.S. President Barack Obama calling for the lifting of the embargo.

Obama has said that decision remains with the Republican-controlled Congress.