Raul Castro Insists Obama Should Use Powers to Lift Blockade

Screen shot 2015-12-31 at 12.46.53 AMDespite the improving ties between Cuba and the U.S. Cuban President Raul Castro has said he will not abandon the ideals that generations of Cubans have fought for.

Cuban President Raul Castro on Tuesday again called on his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama to use his executive powers to lift the 53-year blockade against the Caribbean island and warned that his country would not bow to pressure or conditions that put Cuba’s sovereignty at risk.

“The essential thing now is that President Barack Obama uses with determination his vast executive powers to modify the implementation of the blockade, which would give meaning to what has been achieved so far and permit for solid progress to continue,” Raul Castro told Cuban lawmakers on Tuesday.

The Cuban leader also called on the people of his country to maintain its socialist values and national sovereignty amid the full restoration of diplomatic relations with the U.S., but warned against any attempts to meddle with the self-determination of his country.

“We will never accept conditions that lacerate the sovereignty and dignity of our homeland,” he emphasized.

Despite the strengthening of ties between the U.S. and Cuba, Raul Castro said Cuba will not compromise its values and political system.

“It should not be expected for Cuba to abandon the cause independence or give up the principles and ideals that generations of Cubans have fought for a century and a half,” he told lawmakers during the closing of a National Assembly session.

During the assembly the socialist leader said that in order fully normalize relations with the U.S. the Guantanamo Naval Base must be returned and the export embargo that has been imposed against Cuba since 1960 removed, reported the official press.

“What is essential now is that President Barack Obama use his broad executive powers to modify the embargo, which would give meaning to what has been achieved thus far and allow solid progress to occur,” Raul Castro added.

During the address Castro also touched on the thousands of Cuban migrants left stranded in Costa Rica on route to the U.S.

Last month, Nicaragua closed its border and prohibited an influx of people attempting to enter the country. Guatemala and Belize quickly followed suit after Mexico said it would also refuse them entry, arguing that its current migration laws would prohibit such a move.

However an agreement with Costa Rican government was made Monday to relocate the thousands of Cubans. According to a release from Costa Rica’s Presidency, the countries agreed to conduct a pilot exercise to fly out some of the Cubans to El Salvador, where they would be put on buses to cross Guatemala and enter Mexico.

“Our government has been in contact from the very beginning of this situation with the region’s governments, searching for a suitable and quick solution, as pope Francis has also called for, and taking into account the difficult circumstances of the migrants,” said Castro.

Relations between the U.S. and Cuba have thawed somewhat this year with travel and import sanctions levied by both sides.

While the countries reached an agreement to resume direct, scheduled flights earlier in December.

This content was originally published by teleSUR at the following address:

teleSUR, December 30, 2015

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