ON January 11, 2011, the United States government announced new measures in relation to Cuba. Although it is necessary to await the publication of the regulations in order to understand their true significance, according to preliminary information released by the White House press office, the measures will:
* Authorize travel to Cuba by U.S. citizens for academic, educational, cultural and religious purposes.
* Allow U.S. citizens to send limited remittances to Cuban citizens.
* Authorize U.S. international airports to request permission to operate charter flights to Cuba under certain conditions.
The adoption of these measures is the result of efforts by broad sectors of U.S. society which, in their majority, have been demanding the end of the criminal blockade of Cuba and the elimination of the absurd prohibition of travel to our country.
It is also an expression of recognition that the U.S. policy towards Cuba has failed and new ways to accomplish the historic objective of dominating our people are being sought.
Although the measures are positive ones, they are much less than what is being justly demanded, their reach is very limited and they do not modify policy against Cuba.
The announcement by the White House is basically limited to reestablishing the regulations which were in place in the 1990’s during President Clinton’s administration and were eliminated by George W. Bush in 2003.
The measures only benefit certain categories of U.S. citizens and do not reinstitute the right to travel to Cuba for all U.S. citizens, who will continue to be the only people in the world who cannot freely visit our country.
These measures confirm that there is no willingness to change the policy of blockade and destabilization against Cuba. Upon announcing them, U.S. government officials made it very clear that the blockade will remain in force and that the administration is proposing to use the new measures to strengthen subversion and intervention in Cuba’s internal affairs. This confirms the charges presented in the MINREX statement of January 13.
Cuba has always been in favor of interchanges with the people of the United States, its universities, academic, scientific and religious institutions. All the obstacles which make visits by U.S. citizens difficult have always been, and continue to be today, created by the U.S. government.
If a real interest in broadening and facilitating contact between our peoples exists, the U.S. should lift the blockade and eliminate the prohibition that makes Cuba the only country to which U.S. citizens cannot travel.
Havana, January 16, 2011
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