Not time to remove embargo: Obama

Not time to remove embargo: Obama
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

U.S. President Barack Obama believes that this is not the time to lift the embargo on Cuba, according to the U.S. Embassy in Port of Spain, Trinidad.

This is according to a statement issued by the acting Public Affairs Officer of the embassy, Alexander McLaren following calls by outgoing CARICOM Chairman Denzil Douglas of St. Kitts/Nevis and Cuban President Raul Castro for the U.S. to remove its longstanding trade embargo against Cuba at the recent CARICOM-Cuba summit in Port of Spain.

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar who also spoke at the summit opening, noted that CARICOM states at the United Nations General Assembly in October had pledged support for calls for the U.S. to lift the embargo.

However, the U.S. Embassy stated; “The American people are already the largest providers of humanitarian aid to the Cuban people, and the United States is Cuba’s fifth largest trading partner.”

“The U.S. has been Cuba’s largest supplier of food and agricultural products for the last five years. In 2010, Cuba purchased over $300 million in food and agricultural products from the United States. These products included poultry, soybean products, corn, wheat, feeds, pork and other items,” the statement said.

“The United States remains Cuba’s top supplier of food as well as one of Cuba’s top suppliers of medical equipment,” it noted.

“We continue to believe that the embargo provides an important source of leverage for further positive change on the island.

“The administration has also taken steps to improve conditions for Cuban citizens through initiatives aimed at increasing the flow of information, resources and humanitarian relief to Cuba,” the statement added.