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article imageBiden Says No to Lifting Cuba Embargo, but is it Time?

By Michael Krebs     Mar 29, 2009 in Politics
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden says no to lifting the embargo on Cuba, though Latin American governments say lifting the embargo is crucial. Is it time to open up to Cuba?
Tropical island countries have a mystique about them; it could be the blue water or the white sand that the blue water laps - or it could be the hot cultures that seethe in the nooks and crannies of the cities or the business opportunities that abound. As such tropical islands go, and due also to its inherent taboo, Cuba holds the most intrigue among Americans.
For decades there have been questions about lifting the U.S. travel and trade embargo on Cuba - but the embargo has been upheld, almost as an obligatory tradition, and the Cuban dictator has been the central reason.
In a March 23, 2009 report in Orlando Business Journal, Tessie Aral said, "There is wide speculation that Obama will issue an executive order in the near future that will lift all travel restrictions on Cuban-Americans."
Ms. Aral's company, ABC Charters, holds a U.S. license to transport travelers to Cuba. While many Americans have figured out how to get to Cuba through secondary countries, Tessie Aral's service - coming direct from the U.S. mainland - is a rarity.
But with Fidel Castro's health in decline, is it time for the U.S. embargo to end?
At a meeting with reporters in Chile, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said that there were no plans to lift the embargo.
"We think that Cuban people should determine their own fate and they should be able to live in freedom and have some prospect of economic prosperity," he said in a Reuters report.
South American government ministers have been pushing the Obama Administration to lift the embargo on Cuba, saying the move would improve ties throughout Latin America.
"Obama and I made it clear during our campaign that we thought there's a need for transition in our policy toward Cuba," Biden told reporters, according to Reuters.
The Obama Administration is taking a wait-and-see approach on Cuba's democratic reforms before moving forward with an ease in relations. Americans with interests in traveling to Cuba and in doing business with the island nation will have to wait it out.
“The Cuba of 2009 is totally different country than it was 15 or 20 years ago,” Kirby Jones told Orlando Business Journal. Mr. Jones has a consultancy that helps American companies do business in Cuba.
"I would never have predicted the changes I have seen," he added.
More about Biden, Cuba, Embargo, Latin america, Trade
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