By: Walley Johnson
The cheerful invitation from the Engage Cuba Coalition-a new lobby meant to mobilize support for normal ties between Washington and Havana- declared, “The weather may be freezing, but U.S.-Cuban relations are thawing”.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, on Tuesday said there had been hundreds of “arbitrary arrests” in Cuba in recent weeks.
Until then, air service between the two countries will continue via the existing system of charter flights.
The Cuban Embassy in Washington said the two countries had reached preliminary agreement on a memorandum of understanding for the establishment of regular flights. In a phone interview, Scott Laurence, the senior vice president for airline planning, said that the company is excited about the possibility of servicing Cuba for commercial flights and will likely apply for routes from Orlando International Airport, Tampa International Airport, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport and JFK International Airport.
Under the new arrangement airlines in the two countries can now strike deals in such areas as code-sharing and aircraft leasing, the embassy said.
Regarding the U.S. economic embargo on the communist island, although Obama has taken executive action to ease travel restrictions and some commercial transactions, the complete lifting of the embargo may only be done by Congress, which at present is controlled by the Republicans, a majority of whom are against eliminating it. Those flights can run upwards of $500 round-trip for a less than an hour flight from Miami to Havana. “Our years of experience in Cuba and unmatched customer experience positions JetBlue as the carrier of choice for travel to Cuba“. It is better to engage Cuba and work with it, he said.
In a rare broadcast of his speech on state television, the 84-year-old leader said, “Cuba will continue insisting that to achieve the normalization of relations it is imperative that the government of the United States remove all policies of the past”.
According to Washington Post, Obama said in a statement that both governments are moving forward on common interests, working on complex issues that for a long time have divided them.
However additionally they adopted their progress in Main Baseball League and famous with satisfaction how some have been snatched up by rich USA groups.
The U.S. Secretaries of state, commerce and agriculture and the Cuban-born deputy secretary of homeland security have all made official visits to start discussions on unsexy but vital technical matters like produce inspection and port regulations. “Because the Obama administration awarded these renewed relations without demanding anything in return”, she adds, “the USA has lost its position of leverage”.