Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said the ongoing blockade tainted the opening of the embassy, but thanked President Obama for his efforts to end the economic warfare.
Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez spoke of the importance of addressing the outstanding issues between the U.S. and Cuba during a press conference Monday morning marking the reopening of embassies.
Read the full statement below
“Today, the re-establishment of diplomatic relations and the re-opening of embassies complete the first stage of the bilateral dialogue and pave the way to the complex and certainly long process towards the normalization of bilateral relations,” he said. “In 1959, the United States refused to accept the existence of a fully independent small and neighboring island,” which meant Cuba “was forced to defend itself.”
Rodriguez commented on the bittersweet nature of the embassy opening, saying that unless certain other steps are taken by the U.S. to overcome the challenges that normalizing a relationship that has “never been normal”.
“Only the lifting of the economic, commercial and financial blockade which has caused so much harm and suffering to our people; the return of the occupied territory in Guantanamo and the respect for Cuba’s sovereignty will lend some meaning to the historic event that we are witnessing today.”
However, he said the Cuban government respects and recognizes President Barack Obama’s efforts in Congress to change these outmoded policies, “in particular for the disposition he has showed to make use of his executive powers for that purpose.”